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FAQs about Tobies, Sharpnose Puffers Disease/Health

Related Articles: Tobies/Sharpnose Puffers, Puffers in General, Puffer Care and Information, Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo, True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, BoxfishesPuffer Care and Information by John (Magnus) Champlin, Things That My Puffers Have Told Me by Justin Petrey,

Related FAQs: Tobies 1, Tobies 2, Toby Identification, Toby Behavior, Toby Compatibility, Toby Selection, Toby Systems, Toby Feeding, Toby Reproduction, Puffers in General, Puffer Identification, Puffer Compatibility, Puffer Selection, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers, Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Boxfishes


A Corallimorph of light blue and grays and browns. There are whole classes of negative chemical reactions possible between fishes and non-fish livestock.

Blue Spotted Puffer (Canthigaster solandri) skinny     1/12/19
Hi crew,
<Hi Leanne! Wil this morning.>
I appreciate the time you guys take to respond to us novices. Your forum contains a wealth of information! hope you can provide some insight as I have spent the best part of the past 4 hours researching this to no avail.
Firstly the setup..
I have a 300L marine aquarium with approx 40kg of live rock, sump/refugium with skimmer and return pump and timed LED lighting. The water parameters are perfect.
<We need more accurate info on your water parameters(numbers).>
All our crew are small in size, there are two clownfish, two Blenny, one Picasso Trigger, Banana Wrasse, Banggai Cardinal, Three Spot Damsel, Coral Banded Shrimp and three Pyjama Cardinals.
Here’s a photo with most of the crew..
The patient..
My daughter bought a Blue Spotted Puffer (Canthigaster solandri) for me about 11weeks ago from our LFS. ‘Fatso’ adapted to his new home extremely well and began eating food right away and nibbling at the rocks and took a liking to my Zoas and small snails/shrimp we ‘had’ in the tank.
<It needs a more complete/balanced diet. Green stuff (algae)must be included on its diet.>
The issue..
The last 24hrs has been stressful (for me), he looks extremely skinny and I’m worried he is not eating properly. Nothing has changed in the tank or the environment he is in. I don’t know what to do. I have attached before/after pictures of him, Fatso looks anorexic.
<Yes, it looks emaciated. >
Apologies for the poor quality, he hides in the cave so lighting is poor.
Please let me know if this is normal and if not what can I do to help him.
<No, this is not normal, have you notice any aggression by other tankmates, maybe your Picasso trigger? >
Thank you,
<Cheers. Wil>

Re Blue Spotted Puffer (Canthigaster solandri) skinny     1/12/19
Sorry! I forgot to include his current diet. Other than eating my beautiful Zoas and nibbling at live crabs & snails, Fatso is fed frozen Mysis shrimp and a mix of frozen marine food (purchased from LFS) and fine diced squid.
<Ahh ok... still needs more greens on its diet and vitamin supplements.>
Thank you,
Leanne Mott
<Welcome. Wil>

Re: Blue Spotted Puffer (Canthigaster solandri) skinny       1/14/19
Wow! Thank you so much for a super quick reply!
<You´re very welcome Leanne!>
How do I get more greens into Fatso? Is there a plant or coral I could introduce into the tank which he could eat or would a frozen ‘Marine Green’ food suffice?
<Caulerpa algae may be introduce in the tank for "Fatso" to nip at constantly, There are different brands of nori such as TLF "Sea Veggies", that you can easily put in an algae clip. >
What supplements do you recommend? I’m in the North West of Australia so the LFS is limited to what it stocks but I can order from online stores.
<I personally use: Selcon, VitaChem, Kent´s Marine Marine C and Seachem´s Vitality; soak the food a few minutes before feeding or just add directly to the tank.>
Thank you once again, I really appreciate your response.
<Glad to help>
<Kind regards. Wil.>

Parasitic isopods in pufferfish     3/8/17
Hi all,
Recently I bought a blue dot Toby puffer that seemed to have a mild goiter.
It was in a copper-treated quarantine (2.5ppm plus hypo at 1.015) for the last two weeks and seemed to be doing fine, albeit a little sluggish, but this morning I found it dead. In my experience a dead puffer with a bulge that won't go down is a sign of gill parasites, and lo and behold, a necropsy revealed a pair of gigantic isopods wriggling away inside a very warped gill chamber.
If the copper and hypo didn't kill them, is there anything I can do to help a fish with this kind of parasite?
<Yes. Gone over here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crustdisfaqs1.htm
plus read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopoda.htm >
Toby puffer gill openings are very small in the first place, I wouldn't have been able to pull them out without cutting an opening. I also have to assume this is a rare occurrence or else there would be more literature about treating
them, though this is the second time I've seen them pop out of a dead Toby.
<Mmm; not an uncommon marine fish parasite group... But as the saying goes:
"Successful parasites don't kill their hosts" (generally)>
I've attached pictures of the puffer from when he arrived, plus a photo of the isopods. Thank you for your help as always.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Hawaiian White Spotted Toby - Injury to Eye     9/9/16
Hello and thank you in advance for any advice you can give me on how to deal with this unfortunate situation.
<Me too>
My name is Jenelle and I have a 75 Gallon FOWLR saltwater tank. The tank is 8 months old and even with my boyfriends tendency to buy fish and check comparability later, we've gone incident free this entire time! In the tank
with the Toby (named Lil Puff) are, a Green Wolf Eel, Snowflake Moray Eel, Immaculate Puffer, 3 Camel Shrimp, and a Coral Banded Reef shrimp (various clean up crew).
While some may recommend against these guys being tank mates, they actually get along pretty well. The Eels stick together (even though green wolf not technically an eel)
<Ah yes; a Pseudochromid>
and both Puffers absolutely adore each other. Our Green Wolf Eel has the patience of a Saint when it comes to Little Puff, but has never ever actually tried to harm him, or anyone else in the tank. Our Snowflake is more afraid of the Puffers than vice Versa. Not only is he very mild tempered but he's just a little slow. He's got poor eye sight and even
though the camel shrimp are the size of his head, he backs away and runs to other side of tank when encountering one.
I share this information because I believe my Little Puffer sustained an injury to his eye.
<Agreed. "One sided"/unilateral exophthalmia is almost always resultant from a physical trauma>
The night before his eye was perfect just like him. I've looked up some information but can't say for sure if it is a bite from a tank mate 100%.
However, judging by pictures it seems so. Little Puffer is comparable to Dennis the Menace or a Curious Cat. He's got not fears. If we are trying to get him away from something in the tank for whatever reason with a net (rarely and gently of course), he moves as slow as possible and barley flinches.
He's tiny but so brace and so hyper. We've had Octopus in this tank, one was the length of the entire width of the tank. Little Puff liked teasing him swimming right up into his face, slightly lunging forward, and then running away. His earlier roommate in the beginning was an Undulated Trigger.... who seemed to teach Little Puff some of his less desirable
traits. (Like most with Undulated's his bullying and sociopathic ways became enough for us. He was donated.)
I guess I make these points trying to emphasize Little Puff has never been in a dangerous situation or lived in fear of any tank mates. For whatever reason, the bunch we have balanced each other well. The Big Puffer (Immaculate Puffer) has a large mouth, and on occasion regardless of putting two brine cubes in for them, they would both go for the same one.
Occasionally, I would see Lil Puff get a nip in on Big Puff. Never vice Versa. Big Puff never held grudges and would purposely wait to see if Little Puff was gonna bite first. (Two cubes were used so they wouldn't fight over one and possibly hurt each other... But they have toddler mentalities!)
I believe this to be an injury, and I truly believe whomever did it, that it was an accident. Even once I started watching him like a hawk after seeing his eye yesterday, he didn't seem scared of anyone. When he's scared he curls tail and gets blotchy colors. Only enemy Little Puff has is the Coral Banded Shrimp. But it's never gotten to the point where he could
cause harm to Little Puff.
Just in case, our water quality is OK. We have been battling high nitrates since about three months into the tank and have yet to get that down to a "safe level." Even so, our fish have thrived, are active, colorful, and great appetites. Our PH is 8.2. Ammonia 0 Nitrite .25.
<This needs to be zero>

Nitrate 40ppm. Everyone else in the tank is doing very well. No changes in personalities or appetites. Lil Puff, Snowflake Eel, Green Wolf, and the Coral Banded are what we call OG's (Original Gangsters). Silly, but basically they've all been in there since the beginning. So just comparing Lil Puff to his long term tankMates he's the only one to have any sort of
<More weight to the injury explanation>
Ok on to the actual injury here. I apologize if this is too lengthy or too full of unnecessary information. I tend to get too detailed!
<Take your time>
I woke up yesterday and noticed Little Puffer in the top corner of the tank on his side. Without thinking too much of it, I dropped the cubes of food in like I always do. Normally, Big Puff and Little Puff are zipping up and down the glass in the corner next to our fridge, making chomping faces at me. They know I'm headed to the freezer for their food! When I saw even with the food in Lil Puff hadn't moved I got a closer look. I noticed his one eye had white around and when it became clearer, that it almost seemed as if it had been pulled out.
It was quite shocking. Basing my guess solely on his eye being perfect the night before, (I take a lot of pics of them, at least 200 night before of his eye perfectly fine) and what appear to be a possible bite mark above his eye on his "head", I assumed someone accidentally took a bite.
<Could have zoomed into a hard surface>
It did not seem that brutal, which again leads me to believe some one didn't mean to do it. I guess it's always possible something mechanical did it. Bothers me not to know, but I'm guessing how really doesn't matter.
I tried feeding Little Puff several more times, way more than usual, but I know if he's not eating it's serious. The entire rest of the day he stayed on one side of the tank floating. He wasn't swimming as usual. Normally, he's zipping above the rocks, below the rocks, squeezing through little entrances, and zipping back and forth with Big Puffer. He loves it so much Little Puffer often pushes himself into Big Puff's belly. (Big Puff is slightly overweight... Ok a lot overweight!)
He's turning his body so his belly is facing up and almost riding the current. He does this for maybe 30 seconds, sometimes he floats into a rock or the glass, and it seems to almost snap him out of it. He will shoot back right side up... Swim slowly towards the front of the tank, then go back to floating. Either upright or on his back. His belly looks tight and almost bloated with many ridges. He's belly rarely looks that way on a normal day.
As the day went on and overnight into today, his eye has become much, much worse. Just several hours ago it was very white, clearly almost moving further away from the socket. Oddly enough, his color seems great and his other eye is perfect. I tried feeding this morning again and food went right by his mouth and he didn't eat.
As of an hour ago, when I checked on him again I found his eye had become bright red, like it's bloody. The actual eye area looks less clear and seems to be deteriorating. He's floating nonstop still. He goes upright, leans back, swims to back of tank, hits a rock (at one point with the damaged eye!!!!!! Heartbroken!!), hits the glass, snaps up, swims slowly
forward, then goes backwards again. Nonstop.
I'm so, so, so, concerned. Little Puffer is the toughest little fish I know. We've never had one injury, illness, or fight in our tank and it's killing me that this has happened to him and I don't know how to make it better!!!!!!!!!
I don't know what to do. Do we try antibiotics?
<Mmm; I wouldn't>
Is he in pain?
Should he be moved or will that stress him?
<Do you have another well-established system? If not I'd try a modicum of Epsom Salt here, in place>

One thing Little Puff is, is dramatic. If we move a rock from one side of the tank to the other, he's in the corner against the glass or swimming around blotchy and with his bug eyes. He's very sensitive to change so I worry about taking him out of his home.
I just want to know if he can survive this.
<Oh yes. With time should self-cure>
Or should we be making him as comfortable as possible. It's literally breaking my heart to see such a hyperactive, giddy, funny, and energetic fish slowly fade away.
As of now, my plan is visiting my LFS to see what they recommend. I trust them there and they've always given us great advice. Never trying to sell something. Good people. Then when my boyfriend gets home and is able to assist me, I think we will be moving little puffer into a hermit tank we've used before for temporary isolation (not when I'll).
If Little Puff is going with the water flow he can cause more damage. I'd rather he be protected by the four walls without having to be on edge he's about to hit a rock or the Coral Banded.
I read some people turn off their pumps or filters. I'm not sure that's a good idea and our Immaculate is pretty dependent on a strong current to swim against. Without it he would just sit on the sand bed.
<I would leave all mechanicals running>
I'm attaching some pictures. I truly appreciate any advice you can give me on how best to handle this. I really am truly sorry if I went on a bit too much or provided you with information you just didn't need to know. This site is truly unique in the level of expertise that is offered for free. I know your time is valuable and I again apologize for any time wasters I've
thrown in here!
I just want to make sure I've covered my bases and given you guys enough information to reply to my need for help in one shot. Although, I'm sure I jinxed it and I'm missing some huge important bit of information! Thank you! Thank you!!
Jenelle D.
<Please do read here a bit Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/epsomfaqs.htm
And do write back if you're not clear on the background, course you might take. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hawaiian White Spotted Toby - Injury to Eye     9/9/16
Hello Bob!
<Hey Jen>
Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. I posted on other forums and still haven't gotten a response. I'm so grateful for your experience and prompt response. This has been a stressful two days!
I just wanted to ask a few more questions if that's alright?
I read up on the Epsom salt treatment and I'm glad to know we can perform it in our main tank. We do have an Octopus still in this tank. I left her out of the earlier list because unfortunately, she entered senescence about 3 weeks ago after laying eggs. She's barracked herself into a tiny spot between the rocks and hasn't come out or eaten since.
While our Octopus (Inky, Abdopus aculeatus) is nearing the end, we still do not want to do anything to cause any harm or pain. This is our second Octopus and senescence seems rough enough. On the other end of things, Puffer has a real chance and is our main concern.
Will this be safe to perform with Inky in the tank?
We were coincidentally due for a water change today. Should we perform it first and then do the salt? I saw one post said every three days and another said only once, which is correct?
<Once, replacing incrementally with water changes... like other salts, MgSO4 stays in solution>
Lastly, I just wanted to send you some more recent and detailed pictures of Lil Puffs eye. I'm no expert and I tend to overreact.... But to me his eye looks shredded. Like it is tearing at the seams.
<Aye; do be ready to remove this animal as it expires>
Is there a any hope of it healing completely?
Is it past the point of treatment?
<Not past>
Could this be fatal?
<Could; small chance>

It just seems so awful and it just hurts me to see. Even having an Octopus (they are truly spectacular), Lil Puff to me is the prettiest fish out there. When he looks at you straight on, he seems to smile at you.
I hope none of my questions seemed redundant and I apologize if they are. I truly appreciate the time taken to read my information and to recommend a response to the situation. I just really want to know what to expect once we treat with the Epsom salt. Should I be expecting it to fully heal or just stop getting worse?
<Patience here. Some such incidents take weeks, months to heal completely; others just days>
Thank you so much for your time.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Strange Spot on my Toby Puffer      4/13/16
Mate; your 17 meg email is being deleted. RESIZE your pix to a few hundred Kbytes and resend. Haysus!
Re: Strange Spot on my Toby Puffer      4/13/16

I just purchased this puffer a few days ago. He is in a 55 gal tank with 1 Powder Brown Tang (they were purchased together and added at the same time and the get along very well). There is no fin damage. The tank has been
up and running for a long time approx 5 years. The night that we bought the puffer we had a power outage. The temp in the tank dropped, I don't believe it was below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but it did drop. We noticed that the fish was acting very lethargic ( I am guessing from distress).
After power returned the temp rose into normal range about 75 - 77 degrees. At this point he was swimming normal but not really eating like our porcupine puffer does (this puffer is in a separate tank).
<Likely simple stress here at work; but Tetraodonts; all puffers go on  feeding cessation bouts at times. Not a worry if they're in good shape to start with>
Tonight we noticed that he has developed a large spot" on his side.
<I see this in your pic>
I am not sure if it is an ulcer, or a bruise, or a scrape.
<One of the latter two I'd wager... now perhaps involving bacteria (though it looks like a fungus)
He is also not acting very energetic (laying around near the bottom) and his breathing seems labored, erratic, and fast.
<Mmm; did you treat both these fishes for Trematodes at some point? Both very regularly are infested from the wild>
The part of his belly that is closest to his tail seems to be swollen. We did remove a chocolate chip star
<Not a hardy aquarium species. See WWM. Most all die soon after removal from the sea>
that is approx 4-5 inches across from the tank tonight (not sure if he could have possibly latched on to him to try to eat him???)
<Doubtful. Most likely the fish "swam into" something. Not a big deal; will self-cure given good care >
Any advice would be appreciated on how to treat or what we can do to help him out. I am attaching some pictures for your reference.
I tried to attach a short video in my first email. If you would like to see the video it is approx 10mb, please let me know how I can send that to you[image: Inline image 2][image: Inline image 1]
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Strange Spot on my Toby Puffer      4/13/16

Was you able to get my last email? I only sent 2 pics each about 700kb?

Sick puffer         12/7/2015
Hello how are you?
<Fine; thank you Daniel>
I was referred to you from one of my saltwater Facebook groups. I have a sick blue spotted Toby puffer that I'm hoping someone can help me with. I've been in the hobby for a few years and have had several tanks including planted and Cichlid as well as breeding mollies but mainly focus on my saltwater tanks. This Toby puffer I've had for at least 18 months. He is in
a 210 gallon Fowlr tank with a custom 70 total gallon double sump. Water parameters have always been spot on. The tank has been running for about two years or so. There are no new fish added. Everyone else is healthy. He has been super healthy and a very vibrant colorful active Fish this whole time. Friendly enough that he'll eat from my fingers. He even would eat the seaweed off the clips as well as chewing on the Marine grazers from new era. I don't feed live fish to him because of the risk. Almost 2 weeks ago he suddenly stopped eating.
<Mmm; what do you feed this fish regularly?>
I ended up removing him to a 20 gallon quarantine tank after he started losing weight and getting pale spots on his body. I treated for several hours separately during quarantine with Bifuran because he was still looking bad and not eating. He still comes to the front of the tank but definitely a little more sluggish. Not eating whatsoever. Very thin and still has pale spots all over his body. His breathing doesn't seem to be labored like some fish get on their deathbed though. Wasn't sure if he had trapped air so I even tried burping him gently during quarantine. Any help or ideas would be appreciated. Hate seeing him suffer.
<Need a bit more info... re other tankmates (that ARE doing well; that might be beating up this Canthigaster)... I suspect, as you've had this fish a good long while; that this is NOT an internal or pathogenic, nor genetic issue, but likely nutritional. Common for puffers to give up feeding, look badly fed on foods too rich in Thiaminase... leading to a B1 vitamin deficiency.
Read here: www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tobydisfaqs.htm
and where you lead yourself therein. Bob Fenner>

My Little Puffer     9/28/14
I've Had this little Ocean puffer that arrived with a water change he seamed fine but them I noticed he has what looks like a baby shrimp or a tentacle sticking out of its side I've Googled it and nothing can you please inform me on this please.
<?... Looks like fecal material to me. Should dislodge of/by itself. Bob Fenner>

Puffer question      6/19/14
I have a puffer with a black worm looking thing coming out of his mouth..I don't know what it could be..
<Wish this image was better resolved... but does look like this Toby is eating something worm-like. I wouldn't panic.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Puffer question      6/19/14
That's what we thought...But it has been there for a week.
<Yikes... maybe this is something else then... My next guess; a piece of black Silicone rubber.>
.we isolated fish and tried to pull it out and the fish moved with it...
<Only thing to do is wait and hope really. BobF>

At a loss with my Valentini Puffer     6/14/14
I am at a total loss with my little Valentini She spends a lot of time sitting in the sand and she has not been eating like she normally does.
<Your pix are a bit small; but in enlarging them... I see that this fish seems "paralyzed"... the mouth/buccal cavity apparently arrested in motion... Perhaps it ate something it didn't agree with... like a Bristleworm... or got stung by a Cnidarian, poisoned by...? A longer-shot is some involvement w/ lumenal parasites>
I have had her for 1 1/2 years and she has never acted like this. It started about a week ago and at first she was constipated. She was pretty rounded in the back end and I did not see any poop for a couple days. Did the Epsom salt and within 36 hours, she was pooping, but still sitting in the sand and not a huge appetite. Did some searching on some various sites and based upon another post, I thought her teeth might be more overgrown than I realized. Did the teeth trimming and still no change. Any input would be most appreciated.
30 gallon Tank with 110 aqua clear filter. Coral life protein skimmer and LED lights. Feed frozen concoction of blended seafood, peas, Nutramar ovum,
seaweed, formula one and vit C. Twice a day. Supplement with a muscle or clam or shrimp tail weekly and this has been the same since I got her. I've even tried some live ghost shrimp, bloodworms
<I'd skip these sewer worm larvae... Implicated in some diseases>

and earthworms this week.
Salinity - 0.125
PH- 8.1
Ammonia - 0
N02 - 0
N03 - 0.05 (just did a 15g w/c)
Some leathers, mushrooms frog spawn and a few candy cane heads. Some Nassarius snails and some turbo snails. No other fish and nothing new has been added to the tank since January.
<Mmm; well... I'd likely "do" nothing here but wait, be patient. Likely will resolve on its own, and actual treatment/s could prove more deleterious than beneficial. Bob Fenner>

Marine Puffer Problems     5/21/14
Hi there,
I've had a C. Papua in my marine aquarium for almost a year now. His was put in QT for 12 weeks before placing him in the display and treated for IP.
The LFS we purchase from had also treated him with copper before we purchased him.
<Mmm, Puffers don't "like" copper exposure...>
He was a very personality filled fish that was always being goofy and ate well, including my inverts (as expected). However, in the last several weeks though he has become shy, is not eating well, seems to have his mouth stuck open like he is panting almost and has formed a lump just behind his right pectoral fin. He has lost a considerable amount of weight now and is very skinny--very different than his previously round/plump form.
<Could be... likely a nutritional disorder>
Puff is the only fish in the tank, but we have a number of snails, two peppermint shrimp I thought would be dinner for him, several hermit crabs and two corals (also though these would be goners but they remain--Duncan and candy cane). Water parameters are within normal ranges, water changes are done frequently with RODI water. We feed clams on the half shell and Mysis shrimp as he will not eat Nori, in-shell shrimp, or anything else we try to give him. His top teeth seemed of acceptable length, but I was able to trim a sliver off in case that was part of the issue. It does not seem to have helped. I'm at loss as to what could be wrong with him and hope perhaps you could shed some light on other steps that we can take to help him. Something is clearly very wrong. I look forward to your response!
Thank you,
<I would administer a mix of Vitamins, HUFAs AND Iodine-ate to the water (some will get into the Toby hence)... These can be searched on WWM, bought commercially in the trade or for humans. Bob Fenner>
Re: Marine Puffer Problems
Thanks, Bob. IP is an abbreviation for internal parasites that is used on some of the forums.
<Ah... Do read on WWM re treating Tetraodontids with Metronidazole/Flagyl and Prazi/quantel for such>
I picked up some iodide today and already have Selcon that we use when feeding.
The fish shop I stopped at didn't carry any vitamin products so I will need to try another one. Hopefully the iodide and Selcon combo helps the little guy.
<Yes... have seen Canthigasterines rally... Am hopeful. BobF>

Valentini Puffer with Lump in Neck Area     7/24/13
I hope you can help me. My Valentini Puffer showed up with this lump on the left side of her neck 2 days ago. She is in a 30 gallon tank with 1 Lawn Mower Blenny. Initially, I thought it might be air or she picked at a snail, but it has not gone away, nor has it increased in size. It is the lump right under her chin.  I tried the burping method (lightly grasping her body with nose up) and was getting ready lightly run my fingers down her torso, but she puffed up and I have never seen her do this, so I released her quickly and then was not able to grab her again without stressing her out.
PH - 8.2
Ammonia- 0
N02 - 0
N03 - 0
30-50% weekly water changes with Kent Reef Crystals and Prime. Tank has been set up 8 months. Some SPS coral frags, frogspawn and a couple of mushroom frags. Live rock & sand. Lots of Nassarius snails.
She still eats great ( homemade mixture of frozen squid, clams, muscles, shrimp, scallops, silver slides, peas, Nori and vita Chem all blended up and frozen). Once a week, I give her a clam or muscle on the half shell to aid her teeth. Poop is normal and she is acting like she always has.
Any help would be most appreciated!
Thank you & Best Regards,
<This looks like a common goiter... of times effectively treated w/ simple iodide/ate addition to foods. I'll mention the SeaChem product here:
And please do search on WWM w/ the simple term: goiter for more. Simply lace/soak foods with a drop or two ahead of offering, and hopefully this cyst will recede in a few weeks. There are other possibilities/causes; but these call for more risky treatments. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Valentini Puffer with Lump in Neck Area     7/25/13
Thank you very much for your quick reply.  That is what I thought it might be, but couldn't find anything solid info to support it.  I will get this iodine
<Note: instead you want an ionic form of Iodine; Iodide... a different oxidation state. Lugol's Solution will do if you can't find, don't want to order the SeaChem or other commercial preparation>
today and try to get rid of it.  Thank you again.
Best Regards,
<Please do report back your further observations, findings. BobF> 

Re: Valentini Puffer with Lump in Neck Area; and add/move to I2 file/nutr. dis F's     7/26/13
I went and purchased the Seachem Reef Iodine and soaked a piece of scallop with 3 drops of the iodine and a few drops of garlic guard.  I gave her the scallop and she did gobble a few bites.  I will continue to do this with her food/feelings in hopes the lump goes away.  Would it be of any benefit to add any to the tank water?
<Not nearly as effective to dose iodine compounds directly to the water; though marine fishes "do drink their environment". Such dosing is a good practice for folks w/ a myriad of invertebrates; particularly Cnidarians>
Thank you again,
<Thank you, BobF>

Saddleback Toby/Valentini Puffer, fdg., hlth.    3/19/13
Hello WWM Crew,
I love your site and spend hours researching and reading through the different topics.  I have a question I have been unable to get any real answer for on your site as well as doing an advanced search on Google. 
I have a 3 inch Valentini Puffer in a 30 gallon tank with numerous Ghost shrimp and 1 Emerald Crab for almost 3 months. 
<The Canthigaster... hasn't been eating the shrimp?>
Water parameters (Ammonia, N02 & N03) are all 0. PH is 8.2, salinity 1.024 and I do a 33-50% w/c weekly.  She has a great personality (aside from her unique sleeping spots, which almost gave me a heart attack the first week).
 She definitely recognizes me to beg and preen when I walk by the tank.  My main concern is the amount of food I should be feeding her.
<Agreed; this fish is too thin>
I feed her in the morning and after dinner and she will eat almost anything I feed her, but never more than 3-4 bites.  She will beg all day and when I get ready feed her, she swims right up to the front where she gets her meal, take 3-4 bites (like she is famished) and swim away.  If I stay there and try to offer her more, she does a couple of laps, comes back to the feeding spot, looks at the food and swims off like she is mad.  This can go on for several minutes until I figure she wants no more.  But as soon as I walk by the tank, she swims right up and begs for food.  In the beginning, I would get the food back out and we would go through the routine again, but never eating anymore food. 
<Mmm, something going on here... likely internally. Alternatively the something could be some aspect of water chemistry>
Her meals consist of squid, clams, shrimp, scallops, snails, worms, peas, shrimp pellets, brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp and ghost shrimp if I provide it. (She won't go after the shrimp on her own??)
 How much should she be eating and what should I be doing to ensure she is getting enough?
<Tobies eat to satiation when healthy, food is available...>
 I initially started out using 10 inch tweezers to keep as much waste from ending up on the bottom of the tank.  I then tried dropping it into the tank, thinking she might prefer to pick at her leisure.  But always ended up having to fish the food out in the evening so it would not spoil.  I even tried taking a variety of frozen pieces of seafood and peas, chopping them up fine and spreading the mixture on waxed paper, freezing and then breaking off pieces to feed her so she would have variety, but 4 bites and she is off swimming. 
Here is a photo of her on her favorite rock taking a nap.
I think she is healthy, but she is just such a pain to feed compared to my Green Spotted Puffers.  I have 2 in a 75 gallon tank and the eat like it is their last supper.  Any help, suggestions or insight would be most appreciated.
Thank you!
<I would try lacing what little food this fish is taking w/ a combination of Metronidazole and Praziquantel... Do search, read on WWM re both...
Barring this, I would risk a single treatment of the tank itself. Bob Fenner>

Valentini Puffer ill    4/24/12
We recently (about a week ago) got a Valentini for our fish only aquarium w/ live rock. He is in a 40 gal with a clown, Royal Gramma, and Henoculous(spelling?) Butterfly fish.
<Heniochus need more room than this...>
The puffer was eating well and took to the tank quickly. The water was tested last week and everything was good except the ammonia was slightly high
<Has to be 0.0>

 (safe according to the testers) and the tank is due for a monthly water change so I didn't find it unusual.
<... is real trouble. See WWM re water changes, filtration...>
Today, the puffer started swimming at the surface with his eyes nearly out of the water and wouldn't eat. The Puffer has been eating a variety (Mysis, brine, flake, and pellet veggies) regularly two to three times a day until today. I am doing my monthly water change tomorrow and hope this fixes the problem but I just wanted to know if there is anything else I should do. I will pick up some other seafood based foods (clams, etc) when I go get the water tomorrow.
Is this something I should be more concerned with?
<Yes... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tobydisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Valentini puffer    7/26/11
When I got up 3 days ago no fish was <were> swimming (I had 6 fish). Two angels have died all the rest was laying on the sand heavily breathing.
<Yikes... summat environmental>
The problem was lack of flow through the nitrate reactor for a few days resulting in rotting. I don't know how and why flow suddenly restored itself and pumped ammonia to the tank overnight.
Anyway, I've disconnected nitrate filter, changed media in canister filter, done two water changes, added ammonia binding chemicals and managed to improve water quality to the level which wouldn't harm healthy fish.
Three fish (snowflake eel, dogface, filefish) ,although still looking depressed , started to swim.
Except Valentini puffer. He can move if he chooses to but in an uncoordinated fashion. For the last two days he has been holding upright position (on his tail) supported on the rock.
(What's the reason for this?, why is he not resting on his stomach like for the first day?)
<Poisoning/ammonia... likely will be fine in a week or so>
Breathing seems to be very fast and shallow.
I am concerned as he has no appetite so will be getting weaker.
Is there something else I can do?
<Patience; keep offering favored food daily>
Thank you for your help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Injured, (sick?) Toby  9/21/10
<Hello Carrie>
I am in desperate need of advice.
<That's what we do here!>
Mick Jagger, my blue spot puffer, has a nasty injury to his side.
<I see this>
He has only been in the quarantine tank for three days. He is with a Bartlett's Anthias and a very mean, Green Chromis. There is one Chili Coral acclimating as well. Could the Chili Coral have stung him?
<Not likely>
Did he get beat up by the Chromis?
or Did he inflate during transit and get air stuck?
<Not likely>
I have added a stress coat,
but I am not sure how to treat him. He is eating like a little piglet, and the injury is not affecting his ability to swim.
<I would not be too concerned here, but would separate these fishes. Good care & diet should see this injury heal>
Thank you so much for your time,
<No problem>

Hey... Canthigasterine hlth., no data 8/16/2010
<... is for equines>
Hey I was wondering if somebody can help? I have a Toby marine fish it's acting absolutely fine eating well swimming around happy. But it seams to have a spot that looks like it has puss coming out of it? I'd be very grateful if you get a chance to reply! Thank you! Sarah
<Umm, Uhh, got info.? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/tobydisfaqs.htm
... and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Too skinny

Trouble With Valentini Puffer - 8/9/10
Hi Crew!
I am writing for help because I am an idiot.
It started three nights ago when I went in after lights out to observe my tanks in the fish room. One of my reef tanks: 40 breeder mushroom tank, live rock, low flow with 5 hermits, thousand of brittle stars and pods, and one Valentine/Sharpnose puffer. I looked in puffy's tank and couldn't find him. I always look on the floor when I can't
find a fish. He was in the back, on the floor. I don't know how long he was there. I didn't realize puffer's liked to jump.
<Most all fish groups can/will, with the exception of seahorses and Pipefishes...>
I had to scrape him out from behind with a long stick (I'm sure it didn't feel good.) I cleaned him off, dirt, debris and lots of dog hair. I floated him nose up because he was full of air and got some bubbles out of him. I swished him around for about five minutes plus, and he just wasn't breathing, he was DEAD. So, I stupidly fed him to my long tentacle anemone (in another reef tank).
<Oh man, what's that famous line from RIP comedian Sam Kinison? "It never ends!">
The nem didn't seem particularly interested in him. I looked in with my flashlight a minute later and puffy was fluttering his fins! Something in the nem got him breathing again. He's ALIVE!!! I removed him from the nem and put him back in his tank and did some more swishing. He was obviously breathing by then, I could see it plainly. He floated around and blew out the rest of his air and went down to the bottom for about fifteen minutes, then he started swimming around almost normally. He was blind. He's been blind for two days but his sight is coming
back because he's starting to patrol the rocks again. He's pretty beat up, with white marks (burns) from the nem and his eyes are cloudy. This morning he actually saw a piece of Mysis I dropped in and sucked it up but spit it
out. His fins are really raggedy. I think he may have post traumatic stress syndrome.
<Ya figger?>
I want to quarantine him in a little pico/hospital tank I have so I can do daily water changes and watch his food intake because I am dumping too much food into his regular tank and fouling the water. He won't eat and he needs nutrition to heal. Can you please suggest a mild anti-bacterial that I can put in the quarantine tank that will make him heal up faster?
<Nitrofuranace or other Furan compound (250 mg.s per ten gallons of water, changed out every three days). Bob Fenner>
Re: Trouble With Valentini Puffer - 8/10/10
Thanks Bob. I bet you got a laugh out of this drama.
<Oh yes... Was going to suggest a go in the microwave to complete this poor fish's ordeals!>
I sure did when I re-read it anyway. I've got Furan in the Medicine cabinet. Puffy is still doing well.
<Canthigasterines are remarkably "tough" animals>
Thanks again,
<And you, BobF>

Sharpnose puffer; diet & dis. -- 01/05/10
I have a spotted Toby, and I am not sure of the exact species name. It is either a (Canthigaster spp.) or (Canthigaster amboinensis). He looks like your website photo of "Ambon Sharpnose Canthigaster amboinensis" which has iridescent blue spots on his body and blue stripes around his eyes.
<Feel free to send a clear picture (side view) for a proper ID if you wish.>
I have had him or over 4 years and he is the only fish that has lived through many fish kills when I had problems establishing my tank. I call him Job. He has never nipped at other fish and has an amiable personality. He is not aggressive at all. He eats the ghost shrimp I place in the tank for his feeding, yet he also eats flake food and dried seaweed.
My 50 gallon tank is now well established with live rock and live sand. I have 2 filtration systems (hanging and under cabinet canister) I change my filters (charcoal filters, Algone, Chemi Pure) when necessary according to directions. I also have a protein skimmer, UV filter, temperature control system, and 4 water flow jets.
I have 1 Pencil Sea Urchin, 8 Mexican turbo snails, 2 sand sifting starfish, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, 8 small blue legged hermit crabs, and 2 small emerald crabs, all of which help clean the tank from algae and debris.
<Great your puffer leaves them alone, many would not.>
I also have 1 Yellow Belly Pacific Blue (Regal) Tang, 1 Percula Clown, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Neon Goby, 1 Zebra Goby, 2 Blue Chromis, 1 Six Lined Wrasse, 1 sand sifting goby (Watchman), 1 Lawnmower Blenny, 1 Midas Blenny, 2 Firefish Gobies (1 red, 1 purple). All of the fish are less than 3" in length, except the tang which is about 6"; There are also small corals in the tank (1 Yellow Leather, 1 Red Brain, 1 Moon Brain, 1 Trumpet, 1 Blue Mushroom, and 3 Ricordeas. I have coralline algae on the live rock.
<In the 50 gallon tank? I'd check the water parameters. Bad appetite can be related to bad water parameters.>
All of the fish seem healthy, however the Toby has not been eating well in the past few weeks. I keep ghost shrimp in the tank for him to eat, yet have had to hand feed him frozen shrimp in the past few days in order to get him to eat.
<In a diet consisting mostly of shrimp you puffer needs vitamin additions, esp. vitamin B1, but also others.>
He has always been tame and does not puff up when hand fed in the tank. I do not use nets on him. For years, he has come up to my hand when I place food in the tank. However, lately, his coloring has faded (more gray and less vibrant) and he rests vertically against the glass in the tank constantly. He has gotten smaller in size and his skin on his sides seems to hang down which look like fold lines. His tail is become frayed. (See photo).
<No picture attached.>
None of the fish bother him. The only fish I have a problem with is the tang because he is so much larger than the other fish.
<Too large in my opinion for this tank.>
When the fish are fed, the tang hordes the food and eats as much as he can, taking away the food from the other fish. I have had to segregate the tang when feeding the other fish.
<Would be best for him and the other fish if he would leave.>
I found a bristle worm in the tank a few weeks ago and removed it. I checked the tank substrate and rocks for more worms and have not found any more. There were clear tunicates in the protein skimmer and some green hair algae on the back glass which I have had to clean recently. I don't know if bristle worms, tunicates, or hair algae are the cause for the Toby's demise.
I read one of your posts regarding "Puffer Care and Information" and it stated that puffers can be susceptible to parasites. I do not know if this is his problem and if so how do I get rid of the parasites on him?
<Cannot be excluded by now.>
Can I place him in a quarantine tank with a copper or other treatment?
<I would not treat without knowing for what.>
Please respond. I do not want to lose my favorite fish. Thank You.
<Check your water parameters. See if the nitrates are above 20-25 ppm, if so do a larger water change or a series of smaller water changes to dilute possible pollution. Also, consider if the tang can leave your tank -- it's too large and during feeding time a problem for the other fishes. In addition, stuff you Toby with vitamins at every feeding and feed it more often until he hopefully recovers. Only if more specific symptoms for a disease occur, which allow a diagnosis, I'd treat him with meds. Cheers, Marco.>

Valentini Puffer Problem - 07/03/09
WWM Crew:
I have a Valentini puffer named Stanley. He is roughly 4 years old. He is normally a very happy, social fish but this morning he is acting a little strange. He is swimming in a vertical position. He is literally swimming around the tank with his nose pointed toward the sky. In addition, he has a gray swelling on his ventral side, just anterior to his anal fin. (Looks like he is constipated???)
<Hmm... no, not as such; rather, looks simply very underweight. He looks a prime candidate for the quarantine tank, where I'd be fattening him up on a rich diversity of seafood: squid, prawn, cockle, scallop, even small bits of white fish. Most anything from the Sushi bar will do, but do remember not to overdo things rich in Thiaminase, as these can cause long term problems:
So while prawns and mussels are good sources of protein, balance them out with seafood that doesn't contain Thiaminase, such as cockles and squid.
Since you've had him a while, an obvious couple of questions to ask is how much he's been eating, and what have you been giving him?>
As he swims around the tank his posterior end bumps into things. Also he seems to be sitting on rocks. Granted, I have seen him sleep before, but he never rests on rocks in the middle of the day. Maybe it could even be considered rubbing. He has what looks like gray spots on the right and left side of his beak. From my reading, that seems to be stress lines.
<Colour looks about right, he's just rather "bony", so underlying structures like muscles may be more obvious.>
Stanley was just transferred into the tank two weeks ago. No problems, mushrooms and other fish doing fine. I have a goby and a bulldozer shrimp in the tank with him (they get along okay, and the other fish appear to be fine, although i don't see them very often.) The tank dined on bloodworms last night.
<Bloodworms aren't really the ideal thing for Canthigaster puffers, though they like them, and really do need a richer, more marine-based diet. I'd be looking more towards krill, Mysids, chopped cockle, minced squid, and other such frozen marine foods. Conversely, brine shrimp, though widely offered, contain virtually no useful nutrition, being almost entirely "fibre".
Puffers also need some greens, whether Sushi Nori, blanched lettuce, or even cooked peas and algae wafers (puffers generally enjoy these last two items). Puffers that don't "get their greens" may well be prone to vitamin deficiency, and at the very least, we know they can't synthesize the toxins for which they're famous. I know Bob recommends the use of vitamin additives to meaty foods (brands such as Selcon) and that may be as good a way as any to ensure an optimal diet for those opportunistic, omnivorous fish we call Puffers.>
Stanley is pretty awesome, hate to have anything happen to him. What do you think is up, and can i do anything to help him? Thank you!
<Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Valentini Puffer Problem - 07/03/09
Thanks for the help...
<My pleasure.>
I knew at one time that he was larger in the belly, but was told that I was overfeeding him.
<Puffers generally are "big eaters" that thrive best when given "a little, but often". Their mode of swimming isn't very efficient, and they are rather active, so I guess they use up those calories faster than many other
fish of similar size.>
I will go buy him some seafood today. Won't be too hard as I am in south Louisiana.
I don't have a quarantine tank, would it be okay to leave him with the goby and bulldozer shrimp? or does he present a clear and present danger to them?
<He'll likely ignore the goby, assuming the goby spends most of its time hidden. As for the shrimp, it's always a gamble with puffers; shrimps are dinner, but the larger species may be robust enough not to be viewed as edible. If he hasn't bothered the shrimp thus far, you're probably fine.
Conversely, it's hard to imagine the goby or the shrimp competing too strongly against the puffer at feeding time.>
Thanks again for the advice. I doubt I would have any fish without the help of your website.
<Good luck, Neale.>


Valentini Puffer Behavior Change... hlth., no reading    7/23/09
Hello again!
I recently wrote regarding a bicolor angel in a 30 G tank with a Valentini puffer and goby. (the tank has a 55 G tetra carbon filter on it. water and filter media was changed less than a week ago.) The bicolor was a new addition to the tank, after less than a week, he developed cloudy eyes and nipped fins. I did a water change, but the Wet Web Crew informed me my tank was too small. The bicolor was brought back to the store it was purchased from (and has since passed).
Now, about a week later, my poor Valentini is acting a little strange.
<The fish in the pic is starved...>
He is resting, a lot. when he does swim, he scratches himself on the rocks frequently. I have never seen him do this. And now, as I type this email, he has a bulge on his ventral side, just below his pectoral fins. :-( I took a picture of him and will be attaching it.
He was underweight. I have been hand feeding him a krill a night as well as putting Mysis shrimp and angelfish food in the tank for his and the goby's pleasure. He eats well. Has eaten today, just isn't active and is scratching. (and now, not 5 minutes later, the bubble on his belly is gone) This is very strange...
I have had these two fish since I bought my first fish tank. I am going to be pretty devastated if i loose him.
Thanks for your continued support! Amy
<Read, don't write: http://wetwebmedia.com/tobyfdgfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Valentini Puffer Behavior Change addition!   7/23/09
Oh no! I sent the wrong picture! that's an old one. Attached is a picture of the weird lump.
He is hiding out now. Curled up on the bottom, in a cave in the rocks.
Its where the bicolor hid just before we got him out. :-( Amy
<Along with your reading assignment, add "goiter", "iodide" to the search.
Bob Fenner>

Jewel Puffer Trouble
<Hello Bernie>
I got a Jewel Puffer
<A Toby, Canthigaster solandri I'll assume>
about 5 days ago from a friend of mine with 3 other fish that it lived with for about a year. The puffer looked very happy in my tank that has a lot of established live rock and water conditions that are also good and
I fed it Newlife Spectrum 1mm sinking pellets and it would eat the most out of all the fishes in my tank. It looked very hungry.
<May need to be "weaned onto" this fine food... Such animals largely consume animal flesh in the wild>
3 days later I noticed that the stomach looked a bit funky in that it looked like there were irregular bulges around the stomach. 2 Days after that the stomach now looks like it's swollen but smooth but looks very
bloated. Hope this makes sense.
<Mmm... could you send along images?>
Today the puffer started hanging out at the bottom of my tank under a side of a rock and just stayed there like it was trying to relax with very little movement. I thought it was dying so I would try to get it to move
and then as it swims out it looks totally normal(it's behavior) but then goes back to finding a place where it can settle and not be disturbed.
Right now it's resting his large swollen belly on a rock and just chilling in the same spot. What should I do?
<Try other meaty foods, perhaps laced/soaked in appetite/vitamin et al. supplement (e.g. Selcon)>
I read the many questions you answered on the FAQs but didn't want to stress out my puffer(using the methods to expel air out of his body) if that wasn't the case. Did he just eat too much?
<Maybe this or something that just didn't "agree with her/him"... from the live rock could have come a myriad of indigestible to toxic materials>
Thanks for your help!
<The meaty foods... Mixed in time with more and more Spectrum. Bob Fenner>  

Canthigaster distress. Env.  5/10/09
Hello Crew
We have 2, 125 gallon tanks, housed in one stand, one on top of the other.
The top tank is well established with 120lbs of live rock, some hairy mushrooms and a large toadstool...haven't been picked on in two years and doing great. The fish are a Porcupine Puffer, Stars and Stripes Puffer, Unicorn Tang and a Fox Face. Both tanks run off the same sump and were filled at the same tank but the bottom one only had water in it.
<I see>
The bottom tank is now just getting started and it only has 50 lbs of live rock so far, a few corals and the fish are a Valentino Puffer, Kole Tang, 2 Square Anthias (male and female), 4 Pajama Cardinals. The Valentino Puffer used to be in a tank where he got picked on pretty badly and had one of his little arm fins ripped right off. so we moved him to the tank he's currently in. He hadn't eaten for 6 days when we moved him.
<I see also from your pic... starved>
He started eating right away and does still seem to be eating and isn't getting picked on at all.
But for the past couple of days he looks as though his belly is distended.
Is this possibly from not eating enough?
He is eating..but maybe the other fish are faster as they have all their fins and he's slower due to missing
one. Really don't want to lose him. He's a really nice fish. Water parameters are as follows: PH is 8.11, nitrites, phosphates and ammonia are undetectable, calcium is 440, magnesium is 1400, KH is 11 and nitrates are approximately 35. Very high.
<Yes... way too>
This is right after two large water changes.
Could the nitrates be affecting him?
Are we able to add anymore live rock or will this make our situation with the nitrates worse?
<If cured sufficiently will/can help... There are several other tact's to reducing NO3 though. Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Any help you can offer would be appreciated. Thanks!

Puffer in distress, Environment 4/10/09
I wanted to thank you for your informative website. It's been very helpful to new aquarists like myself in avoiding major blunders.
However, we recently added a Valentini puffer to our 65 gallon aquarium and after four days, he has become lethargic and keeps his tail curled. This has been a change from his previously bouncy personality and I read in one of your forum posts that the curled tail is a sign of illness.
<Can be.>
None of our other fish seem affected and, in fact, the only other possible symptoms are his lack of appetite and somewhat hazy eyes. Our ammonia is at .25ppm and our nitrates are at 20ppm - high and we are doing additional water changes to help with that.
<This is most likely the problem, puffers are very sensitive to water quality, ammonia MUST be 0, and I am guessing your nitrites are also more than 0, although not listed here. This is most likely effecting all of
your fish, although they are not yet showing symptoms.>
Our salinity has been steady at 1.022 and our temperature has always been 75.
<Why are you keeping your salinity below natural levels?>
We've been feeding a variety of foods, including Mysis and brine shrimp with Spirulina, red and green seaweed, Arctipods, and angel food high in sponge content. Our other fish are two ocellaris clowns, a blue hep tang,
<Will need a larger tank>
diamond watchman goby, coral beauty angel, strawberry Basslet, scooter blenny,
<Will also need a larger tank>
and a thornback cowfish.
<Gets football sized, will also need a larger home.>
What recommendations to help our Valentini would you have?
<Improve your water conditions.>
Would a freshwater dip help?
Any help or guidance you could give would greatly help - we need it!!!
Thank you for your time!
Bobby and Stephanie Tucker
<Ammonia and nitrites must be 0, these are very toxic and most likely the root of your problem. You will also need to address your stocking to be successful long term.>

Valentini Puffer; prob. nematodes -- 09/15/08 Hi! <Hello Amy.> My Valentini Puffer, Stanley, is roughly a year and a half old. He was in a 100 galloon, tank with several other fish. We recently moved him to a tank, that is a much more stable environment, i.e. water quality maintained, light conditions correct, etc. He is now in a 75 gallon, with a goby, live rock and some coral. (He hasn't decided to taste the coral... yet.) He has been in the new tank for about two weeks. Stanley has been his normal, very friendly self lately, but he appears to be lopsided. His belly has gotten enormous (probably from over feeding.) I wasn't too worried about it until the area around his left gill and pectoral fin became inflated. The inflated area stretches from his belly up behind his gill to his dorsal side just behind his eye. It is only on his left side. <Probably nematodes and/or an internal bacterial infection.> He doesn't appear to have nematodes (we can't see any under his scales). <There are many different kinds of parasitic nematodes. Some live under the skin, some infect various internal organs. Fast growth of an unsymmetrical swelling is a typical symptom.> And I tried burping him. He puffed several times (for the first time ever) but no air came out of him. Any suggestions on what else could be wrong with him, or if there is anything I can/should do? <Treat in a hospital tank with a wormer for at least 3 weeks. Fenbendazole, Flubenol or similar depending on where you are, what you can get, if you are willing to consult a vet, would be good choices. Also see WWM re nematodes, treatment options.> Thanks for your help! Amy < I'm sorry but have to tell you that this can be lethal. Good luck. I hope he gets well again. Marco.>

Fiji Puffer Not Eating, Going Downhill   8/29/08 Hello and thank you for your help in advance! I really appreciate all of the good info on the site but I am at a loss for what to do about my puffer. I have a 45 gallon tank <Mmm, what species of puffer is this?> (AquaC Remora skimmer and a Fluval 405 canister filter) which has one 3" Fiji puffer (Canthigaster solandri), a 5" dwarf zebra lionfish, <Mmm, these fishes are not really compatible... the Lion will try to eat the puffer, and the Clowns below... the Toby, bite the Lion...> two 1-2" false opercula clowns, a 2" bubble tip anemone, <... and this BTA... not compatible with the Lion in such a small volume> several soft corals <?!> and some hermit crabs. <Again, too likely fodder for the Dendrochirus> I do weekly 5 gallon water changes, and the ammonia = 0, nitrates = 0, nitrites = 0, Ph = 8.3 using a Aquarium Pharmaceutical kit, specific gravity = 1.024 using a hydrometer, temp = 78 degrees. The tank has been running for 2 years and the puffer was our newest member one year ago. About 3 weeks ago I noticed that the puffer was gradually getting less eager to eat (generally quite greedy), and for the last two weeks he hasn't eaten at all. He makes no effort to come to the top when I feed him and although his eyes follow pieces of food that go by, he does not go for them. My question is whether lockjaw only occurs with the mouth closed? <Mmm, most of the time, yes, but have seen it "locked open" as well> He has had his mouth fairly wide open since I noticed that he has stopped eating and I am wondering if the problem could be lockjaw? <But... from what cause?> I try to feed him a varied diet of shrimp, squid, mussels, scallop, krill and occasionally a bit of fish, and we add vitamins (Zoe) every week or two, <Good> so it doesn't seem like the typical culprit for getting lockjaw by only feeding him krill. However I don't know what else the problem would be since there does not appear to be any external problems (ick, bumps etc.). I don't believe his teeth are too long since his lips totally cover his teeth and there is quite a space between his upper and lower beak (normally he regularly scrapes algae off of about 12 lbs of live rock). <Good, observation and fact> It sounds like puffers can live much longer without food, but he is getting thinner and is breathing harder and faster than normal. Over the last day or so he seems to be going downhill and rests on the sand for periods of time during the day, breathing hard with his dorsal fin down and his skin turning the brown blotchy coloration he gets when he sleeps at night. <Yes... all signs of severe stress> Occasionally during the day I do see him fan his tail so I don't think he's quite on his deathbed. Should I try to force feed him? <Mmm, I would not> I am moving him into a 10 gal QT tank now... <Good> should I leave him there until he eventually starts to eat again? <Yes I would> Any suggestions would be great! Thank you! Laurel <Thank you for writing so well and thoroughly Laurel. That you've had this fish for a year... and use vitamins, have live rock... leads me to think there may "just" be something "genetic" or developmentally wrong with this Toby... Or if it has been somehow toxified by your Soft Corals (happens quite easily from them being chewed...), moving this fish to the quarantine may well solve this issue... I would use the water from the main tank in making water changes in the QT... Do try offering some small opened shellfish as food items... Bob Fenner>

Valentini Puffer Issues, hlth.  07/07/08 Hello - <Rachel> I have had a small, 2.5" or so, Valentini puffer for a few months and it seems to be doing really well in a tank with a clown fish, two damsels and two small crabs. We constantly test our water and everything is in good condition. However, on its belly (and I don't really know how to describe this) between the dorsal and tail end of the fish there are little bumps and it appears that there is something below the skin. The skin is not discolored; it just looks like little balls under the skin. The puffer shows no change in behavior or appetite. Thank you for any help you can give. Rachel Moser <Mmm, the usual guesses are Sporozoans or encysted worms... the former not really treat-able per se, the latter can be... with Anthelminthics... See WWM re if concerned... most times folks just ignore. Don't seem to be debilitating. Bob Fenner>

Spots on Valentini 4-28-08 Hello all, I have tried searching for my problem to no avail. I have a Valentini puffer that, a few weeks ago, got a few very small white spots on his fins. I treated for Ich via a few small doses of malachite green (as I had heard of its many "flaws"). The spots did go away for a few days, but have since returned. <Did you treat in quarantine or in the main display tank?> The puffer is acting completely normal, and the white spots are much smaller than a grain of salt. The other fish in the tank do not seem to have similar symptoms. The fish is housed in a 55-gal tank with 2 clowns; the water conditions are usually good (SG 1.021, ph 8.25, amm 0, ite 0, ate 10). His eyes appear to be very slightly cloudy at times, but I think this may just be the angle I am viewing from. He is my favorite little guy; any suggestions? <I would do a large water change on your tank and also feed some foods soaked in vitamins to your Valentini. Get a quarantine set up and follow through with a Formalin dip to remove the white spot. You can learn more at : http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm ; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm ; > Thanks for your time, <You're welcome! --Yunachin> Kayla

Re: Spots on Valentini Puffer 5-1-08 Hello again, <Hello.> I did the formalin dip and water change as suggested. I did a 6 minute dip but could not continue as my puffer was beginning to have a hard time exchanging air ("panting"). <That's fine.> However, the white spots on my puffer's fins have actually gotten worse since that treatment. Do you have any idea as to what this may be? The spots are now larger in size, some being the same size and some being smaller than a grain of salt. Again, the Valentini is acting completely normal. <There is a good possibility that it is Lymphocystis, which is considered environmental and viral and though there is no cure, usually goes away on its own. Maintain pristine water conditions and feed a vitamin enriched diet to help speed things along. Check out this link for more information: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaqs.htm; > Thanks again for your time and assistance. I really don't want to lose my little guy. <No worries. Good Luck! --Yunachin> Kayla

Sick Valentini Puffer?? Or Over Indulgence.. 4-2-08 Hi guys, <Girl. And that would be Yunachin. ^_^> My brother bought me a Valentini puffer for my birthday last week and it has been great, until tonight. He was swimming around as normal then came to rest on a piece of rock and wouldn't move. Within the space of 5 minutes his color changed and had a distinctly purple hue. <He may be scared and trying to blend in.> He is panting and looks like he is paralyzed except for his eyes. He follows me with his eyes as I move in front of the tank but will not move fins or tail. This is the quickest change in a fish's behavior I have ever seen. I have really bonded with him over the last week and really don't want him to die! <Any other odd things that you notice? Cloudy eyes, white spots, skin lesions?> I have a 75G tank, Green Duncan coral, three types of Zoanthids and a tiny Blue Tang. Temperature is 27.5C SG is 1.024 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 20 <Salinity may be a little high for him IMO. He may do better at 1.021> He has been eating oyster and live brine shrimp. I fed him a little squid tonight, that was the only thing out of the ordinary, maybe an hour before he started acting strange. <It wasn't seasoned right? Just fresh from the market?> As a side note I was actually going to bring him back to the shop as I did research as soon as my brother told me what he had put into my tank, but 'puffy' has behaved quite well, not nipping any coral and Swimming alongside the Tang. <Not every puffer will eat coral but they do like to 'taste' from time to time and can have a nasty habit of nipping fins.> I've been meaning to have 65L of water change made up just in case and now I wish I did. <Hopefully you have made some in the meanwhile'¦> Please help, I can't stand to see him that way! <Honestly, I think this is nothing short of over indulgence. Puffers are a common case of having 'eyes bigger than their bellies' and will eat until just about bursting. He most likely ate too much then settled down to rest on the rock, changing his colors to blend in and protect him from danger, so he could digest. If you notice him doing this for longer than a couple of hours or if he develops cloudy eyes, inflamed fins, or white spots, I would be worried. Go ahead and do the water change anyways, it will not hurt. Keep me posted and good luck. --Yunachin>

Re: Sick Valentini or Over Indulgence  4-6-08 Thanks for the reply, Yunachin. Yes, the squid was unseasoned. :) <Awesome.> Just thought I'd drop you a note regarding the Valentini's behavior. I was told by someone on a fresh water puffer forum that puffers sometimes 'roost' for the night on a favorite rock. I believe this is what mine was doing. <Absolutely! Puffers have favorite sleeping spots just like cats and dogs.> He did the same thing the next night, and the factor that was common to both nights, and that I neglected to mention, was that I had turned the lights back on within 5 seconds of them going off on the timer. I wanted another half hour of viewing pleasure. <So you caught him in his bed-time colors! Many fish take on 'night colors' for safety.> Just last night I inspected my tank a few hours after "lights out" with a subdued red light and found the puffer 'roosted' vertically in the top corner of the tank. <Cute!> I have never heard of this before and thought you guys (and girls) might want to know. <I am happy to hear that all is well with you and Mr. Valentini.> Thanks again and keep up the good work! <Thank you! I am confident that you and your Valentini will have a friendship that will last a long while. --Yunachin> Steve

(Canthigastrinae) Valentini Puffer, issues'¦.and not enough info to help 3-24-08 Dear WWM crew, <<Hello.>> I really need help fast. <<We will do our best.>> I have not had much luck with puffers and I am on my second one. <<Uh-oh.>> He was fine and then he started acting odd <<Mmm...can you describe 'odd?'>> and I don't know if he had this but there is now a thick black line on his belly. That area looks kind of pinched too. <<Sounds like malnutrition, how long have you had the specimen and how long has he been in this state? What are you feeding him, how much and how often?>> Please help me and my pet puffer. <<I need some more details first, including the above questions I also need to know what type of system the specimen is in, with what other animals, what are the water parameters....?>> Also I forgot to say that they are Valentini puffers. <<Start reading my friend; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tobies.htm.>> Thanks
<Adam J.>>

Sharp-nose puffer, hlth., env.    3/3/08 About two weeks ago the blue dot sharp nose puffer was found stuck to the filter, <Something amiss here... though slow-moving... Canthigasterines are powerful swimmers... and smart> I freed him and he swam a little but was not himself. The next day I noticed his teeth were quit large and thought it was preventing him from eating. We used the clove oil treatment as found on your website, took about 1-1 and a half minutes to be out, 1-2 min.s to trim and 3-4 min.s before he came to. <Good short time> Placed in tank but was not acting normal. In the mean time the water quality was not good <?> I was overfeeding to try to get him to eat. Nitrate levels were up to 80mg <Yikes!> rest was 0 KH is 180 and ph 8.0. Did water change and got levels to around 40mg. Added live rock to try to help balance the tank. Puffer was still not eating <... takes time...> and activity declining. One week after adding live rock saw white spots few on fin and all over his body. Did so much research and figured it was Ich. He has had three freshwater dips one with Methylene blue which he jumped out of and puffed up. I took him out and gave him a formalin and malachite green bath. He has had two of these. He is my question is this Ich? <Maybe, maybe not> After each bath the spots seem to ooze white stringy stuff that clumps on the bottom of the hospital tank. <Dangerous to other fish life> At the end of the day it looks like sand is sprinkled on the bottom of the tank. Also there are a million white sperm like things on the glass of the main tank. <Unrelated> I had to use a magnifying glass to see there shape but could not make out much. Also the white spot seem to be under his skin as well. <Is likely just the animal> He is in a hospital tank right now alone because the tomato clown was picking on him. <Perhaps the origin of all the trouble here> I have a thirty gallon tank with two tomato clowns and one rock beauty angelfish. <Much too crowded... See WWM re these species needs...> These fish are eating fine and only the angel fish has two spot on his fin. The hospital tank has Nitrofurazone. <Oh! The thirty is just a treatment tank?> I think he has cercariae from reading things on your website <Ahh! Possibly... can/should be treated with a vermifuge... e.g. Prazi...> but can not find how to treat it and Im running out of time to read all the research. I think I need to use Prazi but the bottle says not to use with other medications. Which treatment path do I go down? Thank you <Ahh, I do agree with the Prazi/quantel... and not using other medications. Bob Fenner>

Re: sharp-nose puffer sick   3/3/08 Sorry forgot to include behavior. It has decreased greatly during the week. Every once and a while he would swim to the top of the tank for air but for the most part has been sitting on the bottom with rapid breathing. The baths almost seem to make the white spots worse. I have not seen any improvement over the last three days. Also I have had the four fish for a year and three months. This guy is so hardy but I almost feel like I should put him to sleep because he is suffering so. Also in the last two days he has taken in (with a medicine dropper) the micro-vent feeder food figured this wouldn't hurt since I've seen him eat nothing in the last two weeks. Also are any of these parasite a threat to my family? Thanks <This puffer was likely just bullied... BobF>

Valentini Puffer introduction... hlth., beh.   1/5/08 Hi guys <Wil> I just bought a new Valentini puffer.. and I picked it up yesterday... I did the usual leave the bag in the tank.. put some tank water in the bag... (did not quarantine). <You'll learn> It was swimming a bit yesterday but has mostly stayed on the ground. <Not atypical behavior> This morning I found it on the ground of the tank not moving. I poked it and it moved but would not swim.. it looked like it would hop and that's about it. Is it sleeping? And when it stays on the ground, it looks like he's breathing heavily. <... could be trouble> am worried that it is struggling to get used to the new tank conditions. <What were "the old tank conditions?"> Tank conditions: SG 1.023-1.025, Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0... How long does it take for Valentinis to acclimate to its new surroundings, is it common that they stay on the bottom for long periods of time.? <Usually w/in a day or two...> What can I do to make the acclimatisation smoother? Thanks guys. <At this point? Not much... keep an eye on this fish... read re its care... Maybe on WWM! Bob Fenner>

Re: Valentini Puffer introduction  1/6/2008 Thanks Bob <Wil> Unfortunately the Valentini Puffer did not make it. Culprit = ph 7.5. Should be 8.2 and above (I think) <Mmm, yes> Reason: Tank was originally brackish conditions I have increased salinity and managed Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate, and not the ph level. One costly mistake. It was one lesson learned from trial and error. Unfortunately the puffer had to suffer. damn! Is there anything else that I will need to change significantly? SG was increased from 1.018 to 1.023. and NOW I know to increase ph to 8.2 and above. Did I miss anything else. Thanks again. <Have you read on WWM re Canthigasterines? Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm toward the bottom of the page. Bob Fenner>

Canthigaster Valentini in Distress 10/13/07 <Hi Biance, Pufferpunk here> I've read up on the Sharpnose Valentine puffer but I still cannot find a clear cut answer as to why he/she is breathing so quickly... looks almost as if it's panting. My brother has a very successful 25 gallon aquarium. I started my 12 gallon tank about four weeks ago and I finally decided to add my first fish, the Valentini. <How was the tank cycled? Is there Liverock in there? How was the fish acclimated to your tank?> Everything seemed fine the first night but when I woke the next morning and checked on him/her, it was hidden-lying on it's belly in a corner behind one of my live-rock and was panting... I thought maybe the light had frightened him/her. I got worried so I transferred him to my brother's little quarantine tank. I kept him in water the whole time, no direct air contact. I would like my fish in my tank, are there any suggestions? <I need to know more about how the tank was cycled, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, after your fish seemed distressed. 12g is way too small for this puffer. I recommend at least 25g & with all the swimming they like to do, 40g is best (that's what mine is in & she swims everywhere & investigates everything.> I do a 10% water change practically every other day. <Why?> The store told me to feed him brine shrimp and once in a while shelled food (shrimp/mussels etc.) <Brine shrimp has basically no nutrition (mostly contains water). The other foods you are feeding, should be his main diet.> More details: my pH levels are fine, my specific gravity is fine, nitrite is perfect, nitrate is fine as well. <Words like "fine" and "perfect" mean absolutely nothing to someone trying to diagnose a problem for you.> All of my corals are doing well and there is a sufficient amount of algae. <Sufficient algae? What do you mean? Most folks don't like any algae at all in their tanks.> The Valentini is in my brother's tank right now and the fish is lying on it's side... :( <I really need to know your exact parameters. Also, answer all my other questions, so I can help you better. I'd definitely say your tank is way too small for that puffer. How did the puffer look/act at the shop? ~PP> Any help be appreciated! Thank you, Biance

Valentini Puffer needs some floss!  7/31/07 Hi WWM! About a week ago we noticed a stringy substance coming out of our Valentini Puffer's mouth. After surveying our tank I realized one of our giant snails had been pecked at and was partially missing. So I am assuming Cupid (yes we named our fish) had taken a chunk of the snail. It's been a week and whatever it is, is still stuck between his teeth. It's a little over an inch long and a cloudy clear color (sorry I can't be more descriptive). It's very thin but wide, my fiancé© would guestimate 3mm. I would attempt to take a picture of it but he isn't photogenic at all he hides from the camera. He is eating fine and nothing has dislodged it but we are worried that it could some how harm him or his tank buddies. All our starfish have their limbs and the only other fish we added the day after. Should we be worried? Should we attempt to pull it out? Thanks, Steph <Hello Steph, I've seen this with my freshwater puffers from time to time, usually when they're teeth are getting to the point they need trimming. In the wild, pufferfish teeth are constantly being abraded by the shells of the prey they eat, but in captivity, their teeth can become overlong and the end result is odd quirks like what you're describing. Sometimes the fish eventually clean their teeth themselves, but if you want to do the job yourself, and it's perhaps worthwhile, it isn't difficult. Net the pufferfish carefully, and then using long-nose forceps to pull away the detritus. Puffers have quite tough, leathery skin but just as with any other fish you should avoid touching them with anything rough or dry. If you're concerned the fish will thrash about wildly, you can sedate puffers safely using clove oil, but try to do the job without first and see how you go. Jeni has written a nice how-to on puffer dentistry for WWM, and having a read of that will give you some more tips: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/smpufferdentistry.htm . Cheers, Neale>

Sharpnosed Puffer with Black Facial Growth Hello the Crew...  <Howdy!> First off...let me thank you for being accessible...I search your most excellent site on a very regular basis and even recommend your website to my customers for answers that I cannot supply.  <Ahh!> I have looked for days on your site for a similar situation as this, but to no avail...Maybe I just don't know exactly where to look...sorry. < I work as the outside aquarium maintenance technician at a Pet Store and we received a white spotted (sharpnosed)? (Toby)? puffer <Yes... a Canthigasterine>  and have had it for a couple of weeks...I don't know when it developed this malady, but a few days after we got it, I noticed a black pigment type discoloration around the left eye and also around the mouth... then it began to slowly spread and the left eye clouded over... I have searched high and low for the answer to this but, cannot find any info on what it is, much less how to treat for it.  <This appearance, condition is likely neuronal... the nervous system... Resultant from a mechanical injury (perhaps a whack with a net)... It may "change back" or may not...> For some reason, "bacterial" keeps nagging at the back of my mind and I know not where this comes from either. Please help me know how to treat this sweet little guy or where I can find the information that I need. Thanks so much and keep up the good work!!! <Not likely bacterial, nor treatable... I would enjoy this little fellow as is. Bob Fenner>

Toby puffer problem  10/26/06 Hi Bob,            I have had my  jactator Toby for over 2 years and he has been hardy and healthy. Recently he has lost interest in food, though he looks plump and healthy  and is swimming around as normal. I have noticed a lump about the size of a pea has appeared under his skin on his tummy, on his left hand side, a little before  the anus. I suspect he is blocked up with something. All other fish are well. Water parameters are good. Unfortunately my quarantine tank is unavailable as I have a recently purchased butterfly fish in their I'm treating with Cupramine as   it developed ick.         I was thinking of using  Epsom salts to shift his blockage or do I wait it out? <Mmm, I would not wait. Epsom is quite safe> Is catching him and  massaging the lump out his anus an option, albeit an extreme one? Thanks in advance for your help, Toby <This lump may be "nothing"... could be an encysted parasite (not-treatable). I would not treat this fish. BobF>

Ich / copper / knowledge transference  2/7/06 Hello, <Hello> I'm about to fire up the QT tank and treat all of my fish for Ich. I have a compressed Toby and want to double check and make sure he will be okay with Copper Sulfate?  I think all of my other fish should be fine. <I'd keep the therapeutic dose at the low end (0.15-0.20) and use a chelated brand> Also, how long should I treat with copper in the QT tank before I start adding carbon to remove the copper?   Thanks David <Much, much more to state here... and is stated on WWM... see there re Crypt, Copper use... Bob Fenner> Valentini puffer skin problem  12/20/2005 Hi!  I have a 2" Valentini puffer, which up until this morning, was seemingly healthy.  I noticed a darker discoloration on part of one side and the top of its body.  It's not slimy, but has more of a rougher appearance.  I haven't seen him eat today, he seems to be breathing a little heavier than normal, and is either swimming towards the top of the tank or hides when the lights are turned on. <Good observations, descriptions> I've checked the pH, and the salinity levels, and did a 10% water change about a week ago.  I can't seem to figure out what's wrong-  Help! <Uhh, can't tell what your checking disclosed from here... Please send along data... and in the meanwhile, read on WWM re Puffer, Tetraodont and Toby Health. Bob Fenner>

Blind Puffer?          Hi, once again I need to call on your help.  I've had a Valentini Puffer in my 44 gal pent. for more than a year now but over the last three days I have been watching him display some discouraging behavior.  First he stopped eating.  I tried to coax his appetite on with some garlic extract, but it didn't do anything.  Over these last two days I can describe him only as becoming disoriented.  He frequently bumps into the rock and glass and seems to find just one place to mull about.           Right now I'm considering several things; one is that he might be going blind, but I have no idea as to whether this would affect his feeding; <Will> two is that he ate something that did not agree with him and it is disrupting his appetite. <Maybe, but far more likely that this fish is suffering from a nutritional deficiency syndrome... next in likelihood that there is some sort of developmental/genetic disorder at play, next, water quality issue/s...>   As far as vision problems his eyes move about, however if he is near the glass and I move my hand towards it quickly he does not dart away.           I have three other fish in there with him; blue devil damsel, Longnose hawk, false percula, and two inverts. and none of them are displaying any similar characteristics.           I haven't added any chemicals to water except for my weekly tap-offs.  I'm going to do a water change tonight just for good measure.  Do you guys have any idea what could be affecting my puffer (and any possible solutions)?  Thank you very much for all your help. Sincerely,       David H. <Does this fish receive a mixed diet? Do you add vitamins et al. to the food/s, water? Bob Fenner> Re: Blind Puffer? In regards to your questions, I feed him frozen cubes of 'Mega Marine (multi-Vitamin) on average of 3 times a week.  On all other feedings I feed the fish 'Formula Two Marine Pellets'.  I very rarely feed the fish more than once a day.  His coloration seems to be fine, as typically I thought that would be the most obvious sign of malnutrition <This is a very sufficient diet... not at likely a deficiency syndrome as cause> Currently, my water is as follows Specific Grav. 1.023 pH of 8.3 76 degrees F Ammonia is at 0 I can't do a nitrite or nitrate test because my refills are in the mail still I add Kent Marine Coral-Acell and Calcium to the water twice a week. Any ideas, or is my puffer in a bad situation? Thanks again. <Have you read through the "puffer disease" and "Sharpnose puffers" and "Tetraodont puffer articles, Related FAQs files on WWM? I would. Bob Fenner> Puffer with large belly Bob, I have written you for advice several times in the past; here I go again. I have a Bennett's puffer that has had an enlarged belly  (like he ate too much, but he hasn't) for several weeks. I originally  thought it would soon pass, but yesterday he was gulping air and looking very emaciated around his face. He looks almost pregnant and is now  resting on the bottom in obvious discomfort. Any ideas? <Sounds like either this puffer has swallowed air, and/or eaten  something that won't pass... have you considered force feeding it (underwater)? Bob Fenner> Unfortunately puffer had all but expired when I woke this morning.  I did try squeezing his belly gently--it felt soft and full of air. He  was euthanized by placing him in the freezer. Thank you for the prompt response. This was my last remaining "original" fish from when I  first entered the saltwater world. I will miss him greatly. Kerry Lopez <Sorry to learn of your loss... likely not "your fault", but an internal disorder (damage, disease) that led to this puffer's demise. Bob Fenner>

Help with Sharpnose puffer in trouble I've had this 3' blue-spot Sharpnose puffer in my 10g quarantine tank for 2 weeks now. The scratching reduced to only a few times a day, I didn't see any spots to think it was Ich. <Likely not... they just "scratch" to some extent...> His (just assume male for the time being) dorsal fin was not clear, there are some whitish stuff on it, but I'm not sure if it is Lymphocystis. The dorsal fin cloudiness seemed to get worse. I often see similar syndrome on Trigger fish at LFS, do you know what this might be? <Likely just some environmental stress showing...> He has been very active and a greedy eater, but yesterday he ate much less than usual, and spent most time hiding under a cave, sitting on the tank bottom. After some close inspection, I found that there was a small area on his side, about 0.5' by 0.25', where his skin/scales (do puffers have scales?) <Very small embedded ones> looked 'lifted' or 'erected' for a lack of better description. I suspect it's from his scratching on the rocks. He looked lethargic. I was afraid of infection in the described area so I treated with some Melafix. Is there anything else I could/should do at this point? Should I continue with Melafix? <I wouldn't do much of anything... if the fish seems fine otherwise I would place it... very stressful being in quarantine conditions. Not that much chance it is carrying anything catching. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Jason

Re: help with Sharpnose puffer in trouble Yesterday evening when I got home from work I found the puffer gone. Of course I felt awful. <Mmm, gone as in dead?> I tested the water. Nitrite read 0. While ammonia also read 0 using FasTest kit, compared with the test result of the water from my other tank, the solution did have some color change, so there is detectable ammonia. But I don't know when the fish died, the ammonia could come from that. <Yes, likely> If ammonia spike was the cause, I suppose there should be reading of nitrite also? How soon will ammonia rise after a fish die? <A matter of hours to a few days (from decomposition)> I have 2 pieces of coral skeletons, 1 piece of barnacle, (each about the size of 5" x 4" x 4") and a sponge on a powerhead for filtration when I had other fish in this Q-tank. When I got the puffer, I added 3 more pieces of LR and another sponge from other tank (each about the size of my hand). Do you think this is enough for bio-filter?  <Should be, discounting any mis/over-feeding> I also changed 20% water once a week for this tank. It's bare bottom so I also vacuum the waste when I changed water. Do you think the filtration was adequate? <I would use a substrate myself... many advantages. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm> I wonder if I used antibiotics instead of Melafix earlier would have made a difference? I thought Melafix was more mild, and the symptom fit more to what Melafix is supposed to treat. My other question is, could using antibiotics like Furan-2 do any damage to fish if there was no infection? (or could it be used as a preventive measure?) <Good questions. In general I don't encourage the use of anti-microbials (or anti-Protozoals) at "the hobbyist level" for prophylaxis... Am not a fan or an anti-fan of Melafix... but don't endorse its use either...> The fish was doing fine for more than 2 weeks, even with the wounds. one day he stopped eating, then the next day he's gone. could something else in play here? <Likely either internal parasite/infectious agents, cumulative damage/trauma from collection/handling/shipping, and/or general stress... or a combination of these. Sorry about your loss. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Jason

Re: help with Sharpnose puffer in trouble Another week passed and things just took a turn for the worse. In the past 3 days the fish ate less than usual and I could see him loosing weight. While he was still gorging on live black worms last night, tonight, for the first time since I got him 3 weeks ago, he didn't touch any food, including live worms. He is still swimming around. The red patch on him got smaller, so I thought it was getting better, but if he stops eating, I feel I have to do something otherwise it'd be too late? <Not necessarily. The whole of Tetraodontiform fishes... the various puffers, triggers, filefishes... are prone to feeding strikes (for real and mysterious "reasons"...). Do keep hope, and offering a variety of foods. Try a few types of small to large frozen/defrosted or fresh crustaceans, shellfish...> Thanks, Jason p.s. he also had a "line" of skin about 0.5" long near dorsal fin striped away, showing whitish tissue/muscle. I assume it was also from scratching earlier. I don't see him scratch any more in the past week though. <Ah, good. Bob Fenner>

Sharpnose puffer is scratching Mr. Fenner, Hi, I just got a 3" Blue-spot Sharpnose puffer (Canthigaster solandri) 4 days ago, and I noticed that he started to scratch on the rocks 2 days ago. I can't see any spots (Ich) on him, he had been eating well at the LFS for 2 weeks before I got him. What is the likely cause of this scratch, and what should I do at this point? <I'd ignore the scratching... likely nothing. All do "scratch" a bit.> Thanks, Jason p.s. he is in a 10g quarantine tank by himself. <Leave the specimen there for the requisite two weeks, then place it if no obvious spots, markings. Bob Fenner>

Http://cowfishes.com/hawaiian.html and Sharpnose Puffer Teeth Bob, Hey I was trying to figure out how to trim my Hawaiian Whitespotted Toby's teeth - as was suggested in a certain book. Do you have any ideas? <Actually, for such small puffers, I suggest you provide hard materials as foods (shellfish like cockles, shrimps in the shell...) and let them trim their own... like taking dogs for walks on the street to wear their nails down... I'm going to ask the Puffer Queen re this... she's so skilled maybe she can use a Dremel tool with Tobies...> - Take a look at the text on everyone of the fishes - the site is a re-wording of Scott Michaels book! http://cowfishes.com/hawaiian.html -Dave <Curious. I'll send this along to Scotter... perhaps he is working with these folks. Bob Fenner>

Toby Teeth Trimming Hey Bob, <Hey Kel> For the smaller puffers, I have used MS-222 and then cut the teeth with wire cutters and smoothed out the rough edges with a veterinary file. <Woman! You've got steady hands!> The Dremel is too big for the Tobies. Their teeth are not as thick/hard as the Arothrons and so the wire cutter does a good job. <Okay> Hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. <Will do so my friend... wish I wasn't so pooped to join you, Walt, Deb in the schpa in Dallas... next time! Bob F> Kelly aka Puffer Queen

Sick Puffer I asked you about my sick puffer several weeks ago. It is a small blue dot puffer and he has become blotchy and has scratches on his body. He is by himself in a 55 G tank so I suspect he came with a parasite. I lowered the salinity to 1.019 in the tank, but that has not helped. I now have a 6 g System 6 tank set up with a cycled BioWheel. I am tempted to give the puffer a freshwater dip and then place him in this bare 6 g tank.  <be sure to never lift the puffer into the air (all transfers under water) for fear of him gulping air. Also.. a small water change from the bare bottom of the tank will reduce parasites> My question is whether I should put copper or some other medicine in the tank also.  <no copper.. the puffer is scaleless and sensitive to metals. Yes, Formalin instead as per mfg dose> He is eating brine and blood worms but doesn't touch any other food as far as I can see. Thank you. <try mysids or Gammarus shrimp frozen. Minced krill too to keep his teeth worn down (else they overgrow.. they need shell to eat). Please reduce or stop feeding the brine shrimp.. it is a nutritively barren food. Compare the nutritional analysis of it to other foods. Kindly, Anthony>

Puffer <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> I have a small blue spot puffer in a 50 Gal. tank by itself, except for about 7lbs of rock and some hermits. The puffer is new to me before I put him in this quarantine tank. He occasionally rubs his body against the sand or a rock and I have noticed several blotches where his coloring is lighter than surrounding area. I wonder if he came to me with a parasite infection. <<It wouldn't be the first time...>> I am gradually lowering the salinity to a target of 1.018. My idea is to lower the salinity, hoping that if this is parasites, he will get better. I would then put in in a 6 gallon tank by him self for 6 weeks, hoping that without a host, the parasites will die off. Am I handling this correctly? <<Yes this should do, although you could also do a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip to hasten things along. More info on that here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm >> I am trying to avoid copper. <<Good plan. Cheers, J -- >>

Sick puffer (a Toby) Good morning, <cheerios> I have a small Valentini Puffer fighting off an infection. The tank, about 2 weeks ago, got what looks like an infection of Velvet. Being new to the hobby I did not detect it in time and lost my Naso Tang - very sad and I'm kicking myself for my ignorance. <am sorry to hear it truly... yes, please do quarantine all new fish without exception in the future> The puffer (and a few others) started to get it as well but I began treatment of the main tank with Rally. <ugh...more like good water quality and fish immunity making the save... or at least trying> The tank contains live rock and an anemone so I thought that this was the best bet. <Mmmmm.... such products are very dubious if even effective. As a rule... homeopathic meds are preventatives at best... really not for full blown infections> After 4 treatments and waiting a week she was not getting any better. However the other fish perked up. So I did a 10% water change and started Rally again for 4 days. She started getting a bit better. Her symptoms turned into slightly cloudy eyes, her fins looking thick and a bit milky, not as social as before this all started, and hiding/sitting on the reef a lot. Now, this is still an improvement over her condition last week. <still... at least this fish needs a bare bottomed QT tank and direct medical therapy> At this point I am wondering if she has a secondary bacterial infection and it I should start another 4 day series of Rally. <I wouldn't> I do not know how much of this stuff is safe to the tank to endure. Being the 3rd series of medicating it I do not want to cause any other kind of issues. <indeed> Is this a good idea? <I cannot even begin to describe how incredulous a product is that makes a claim to effect a cure against Oodinium, flukes and bacteria. Physiologically these organisms could not be any more different! You and I are more akin to Elephants and ground moles by far than the aforementioned pathogens are to each other. In fact... you and I are nearly more closely related to such tonics and snake oils taxonomically than the aforementioned pathogens...heehee (OK... just joking). In suit, their treatment and eradication methods are quite drastically different. Please give serious thought to such products and check the with more than a few people (like on message boards) for a collective opinion on such controversial products> Is there anything else that I should be trying instead. <yep... a real medicant. Something tried and true. Turbid skin and eyes do not imply a bacterial infection. Unless you have seen fin rot, red lesions, sores, etc... do not assume a bacterial infection. Sounds to me like the Velvet was never treated... and you are just looking at later stages.> Should I just now give her time to heal on her own since she is getting a bit better? <risky... but add daily FW dips to the deal and I'll agree for 3-5 days. After which the fish will have improved or clearly need meds and QT> I'm doing my best to keep the puffer alive and well. The benefit of your experience would be most kindly appreciated. <kudos for your empathy. DO remember that this fish is scaleless and cannot take organic dyes or copper meds> Thank you!<best regards, Anthony>

Sick puffer (a Toby) Good morning, <cheerios> I have a small Valentini Puffer fighting off an infection. The tank, about 2 weeks ago, got what looks like an infection of Velvet. Being new to the hobby I did not detect it in time and lost my Naso Tang - very sad and I'm kicking myself for my ignorance.  <am sorry to hear it truly... yes, please do quarantine all new fish without exception in the future> The puffer (and a few others) started to get it as well but I began treatment of the main tank with Rally.  <ugh...more like good water quality and fish immunity making the save... or at least trying> The tank contains live rock and an anemone so I thought that this was the best bet.  <Mmmmm.... such products are very dubious if even effective. As a rule... homeopathic meds are preventatives at best... really not for full blown infections> After 4 treatments and waiting a week she was not getting any better. However the other fish perked up. So I did a 10% water change and started Rally again for 4 days. She started getting a bit better. Her symptoms turned into slightly cloudy eyes, her fins looking thick and a bit milky, not has social as before this all started, and hiding/sitting on the reef a lot. Now, this is still an improvement over her condition last week. <still... at least this fish needs a bare bottomed QT tank and direct medical therapy> At this point I am wondering if she has a secondary bacterial infection and it I should start another 4 day series of Rally.  <I wouldn't> I do not know how much of this stuff is safe to the tank to endure. Being the 3rd series of medicating it I do not want to cause any other kind of issues. <indeed> Is this a good idea?  <I cannot even begin to describe how incredulous a product is that makes a claim to effect a cure against Oodinium, flukes and bacteria. Physiologically these organisms could not be any more different! You and I are more akin to Elephants and ground moles by far than the aforementioned pathogens are to each other. In fact... you and I are nearly more closely related to such tonics and snake oils taxonomically than the aforementioned pathogens...heehee (OK... just joking). In suit, their treatment and eradication methods are quite drastically different. Please give serious thought to such products and check the with more than a few people (like on message boards) for a collective opinion on such controversial products> Is there anything else that I should be trying instead.  <yep... a real medicant. Something tried and true. Turbid skin and eyes do not imply a bacterial infection. Unless you have seen fin rot, red lesions, sores, etc... do not assume a bacterial infection. Sounds to me like the Velvet was never treated... and you are just looking at later stages.> Should I just now give her time to heal on her own since she is getting a bit better?  <risky... but add daily FW dips to the deal and I'll agree for 3-5 days. After which the fish will have improved or clearly need meds and QT> I'm doing my best to keep the puffer alive and well. The benefit of your experience would be most kindly appreciated. <kudos for your empathy. DO remember that this fish is scaleless and cannot take organic dyes or copper meds> Thank you!<best regards, Anthony>

Valentini puffer Hey <Good evening!> I just recently bought a Canthigaster valentini and I'm worried about its teeth growth. At the current moment its teeth are fine but I have no shellfish (by the way what type of shell fish should I feed) but I am feeding it fairly hard granule pellets. <Is he eating this?> Will this help? <It may help> If not when should I start to worry about the teeth? <If the teeth become a problem you will probably be able to see it. He will also (most likely) have trouble eating. Keep this guy's water optimal...he's not all that hardy. Just about any kind of shell fish will work...try clams from the fresh seafood area of your local supermarket. Open the clam to half-shell and drop it in. He'll likely eat squid and fish as well. May also eat oysters and mussels. Maybe shrimp with the shell on...> Thanks, Nick <You're welcome! David Dowless>

Re: Valentini puffer Hello, my puffer is eating the granule pellets and is pretty happy and healthy By the way would freshwater snails be appropriate to feed him? <Not really... likely to die, pollute your water. Marine originating shellfish, fresh or frozen-defrosted are what you want> I also feed him brine shrimp formula 1 and a frozen herbivore cube every now and then along with the granules is the a sufficient diet? <Yes> Also I was thinking about breeding my puffer fish, would a 47 gallon be large enough to have both a male and female? <Should be if otherwise not too crowded> If so where can I find quality info on breeding? Thanks for your help! <At a college library. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm Bob Fenner>

Puffer Getting Better (6/7/04)   Hi there fabulous WWM crew/Steve, <Hello. Good to hear from you again.> Just a quick question and follow-up.   The valentini puffer is doing very well and has been ich-free for almost 2 weeks! <Excellent!> The hyposalinity seems to be working. I will keep him in QT for another 2 weeks, almost he looks like he's getting bored-pacing the tank, etc. The 10 g. must be too small. <Yes, but just think how happy he'll be when he can go back into the main tank disease-free.>   My question is, can I use a pre-seeded filter that have been in my main tank for over a month now in the QT to combat ammonia levels? <Since the tank has been fallow for a month, this should be OK.> The main tank's salinity is 1.023 and the QT's salinity is 1.012 (for now), so I'm afraid the nitrifying bacteria will be instantly killed by the difference in salinity. <Being single-celled, bacteria seem to adjust fairly well, and are able to live at a variety of salinity levels. However, acclimating over a couple of hours might help. Another option instead o the filter is a bag of Bio-Spira Marine if it is available in your area. You can add the remainder to your main as a "booster." thanks as always. <A pleasure. Glad to hear things are going well. Stay patient and all will be well in the end. Steve Allen> -a ps. WetWebFotos. com's message board is great! thanks for tuning me in. <Thanks for taking part.>

Valentini Puffer Died Hi, my name is Dawn < Hi Dawn you have Leslie here today> We just bought a Valentini puffer from a pet store and after only 2 days he got white spots. We put him immediately in our hospital tank and few hours later he died. Was this ich or could it have been something else. < Ich is certainly a possibility, hard to say without seeing or hearing more about it.> He did nip at a anemone but was fine all day and night. <They are not reef safe fish and I doubt that was the problem.> We have another Valentini in another tank and he does just fine with anemones and other fish. < Believe it or not fish have different "personalities" . The Sharpnose Puffers are not considered reef safe and all have the potential to nip fins. Some of the Sharpnose Puffer species are more aggressive than others but all have the potential to nip at inverts and other fish. You may occasionally find one that does not bother either. I had a friend who kept one in her reef for years, without ever a problem but an occasional missing snail.> What do you think could have happened? <Hard to say exactly but most likely the fish was carrying or picked up an organism capable of causing disease under the right circumstances, either at the wholesalers or the LFS. Anyone of several stressful events could have weakened the fish enough to cause the organism to become pathogenic. In most cases quarantining all new arrivals for a period of 4 to 6 weeks is recommended. Please read the following articles and associated FAQS for a better understanding of how this all occurs and how you can help to prevent it in the future. Marine Disease: The Three Sets of Factors that Determine Health/Disease: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm  FAQS on Marine Diseases http://www.wetwebmedia.com/disFAQsMar.htm  Quarantining Marine Livestock: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm  and Quarantine of Marine Fish: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm  Please help thanks. Sorry about your fish. Hope this helps, Leslie 

Valentini Puffer fish with 1 white spot (6/5/04) Hi my name is Kevin. <Hi Kevin, Leslie here this morning> Well my Valentini puffer fish acts normal but there's 1 white spot on his dorsal fin. I thought it was ich so I treated it for 2 weeks now, but it would not go away!!! My puffer act normally but it's just that 1 spot I have a hard time getting rid of it. So please if you no what it is, how to get rid of it, just e-mail me back. <It sounds like Lymphocystis, which is considered environmental and viral in origin. There is no known treatment and it usually resolves on it's own. You can help the process along by maintaining excellent water quality, feeding nutritious foods and minimizing stress. Please see the following FAQs for additional information.... Lymphocystis: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lymphfaqs.htm  Nutrition; Foods and Feeding for Marine Aquarists: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm  Puffer Feeding: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaqs.htm  and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pufferfdgfaq2.htm  FAQs about Tobies, Sharpnose Puffers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tobyfaqs.htm  Thank you, Kevin <Your most welcome, Leslie>

Lots of Questions - Fresh and Salt water right now i have a lot of problems with my fish. one is My valentine puffer is sick but their is no dots or marks on him and it looks like he is in critical condition. can you help < Need more info like the water conditions and how long he has been sick.> Another Question I have 2 aquariums 1 is fresh 1 is salt water. I feed my cichlids cichlid flouting pellets. I also found out that my trigger fish like them to. is it ok to feed them the pellets. < Even though your puffer likes the cichlids pellets it is best to get him back on track with regular food made for saltwater fish for long term health.> This one is a lot simpler how do you determine the gender of a jewel cichlid and a Texas cichlid. < Male cichlid generally have longer more pointed fins and are larger than the females too.-Chuck>

I have an orange tailed Fiji Puffer.  <That common name isn't seen much in the pet trade, but typically this name is given to Canthigaster solandri, sometimes called spotted Sharpnose puffer.> He hasn't eaten in 2 weeks and seems lethargic.  I've read other postings but haven't found any similar to mine because my tank has never experienced infestations.   His tank mates are a Picasso Trigger and an Assorted Puffer.  Both fish are eating and responding normally in the 50 gallon tank. <Hard to tell what "Assorted Puffers" might be, if it's another Sharpnose puffer then it isn't good cause two Sharpnose variety of puffers in the same tank can be bad.  One will be more dominant, and the submissive one will eat less, and not be as outgoing.  Also, Triggers can be aggressive.  My Picasso wasn't bad, but a friend had one what would pick on tankmates constantly.   My biggest concern is that a 50 gallon tank is not large enough for these fish.   The bare minimum for a single Picasso (Huma Huma) trigger is 75, and with that and other messy fish such as puffers you run the risk of problems with such a small tank.>   Tank conditions are ideal, 78 degrees, salinity 1.023 -- 1.025, Zero or minimal nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia.  All fish enjoy eating a varied diet of freeze dried krill, frozen brine shrimp, and live minnows.  <You should offer these fish other foods besides this.   Freeze dried Krill is good, my puffers love it, but it's not as nutritious as offering them fresh seafood.  I purchase shrimp, octopus, squid and clams and offer my puffers it to them once or twice a week.   You can purchase bags of seafood mixes at your local grocery story (food for people).  Plus you get to snack on it as well.   Frozen Brine Shrimp doesn't offer much of anything in the way of nutrition.  And Live minnows aren't a good source, since these are freshwater fish, they don't have the same nutrients and fats found in marine fish.  Plus, live fish still offer a way to bring parasites to the tank.> 25% of tank water and filters are change every 4 weeks or so. <This should be smaller water changes more frequently, and make sure that you premix the water a day or two before adding it to the tank.>   I've had the Fiji for almost 3 months.  The Fiji's behavior began to change after the last tank change.  I did move the live rock that he normally sleeps on. <"Tank Change" meaning that you literally changed the tank around, or that you changed the water in the tank.  If it was after a water change, then it could be that the new water might have had a difference in it's chemistry compared to what was in the tank.  I check alkalinity and other levels in my mixes before adding them to the tank.   If you changed the fish to a new tank, then it could be difficult for it to adjust.  Make sure that there is enough territory for these fish, that they all can claim a spot of the tank as their own.>   The fish get along.  The trigger nips once and a while at both fish but never breaks the skin or continues for a period of time.  <Chances are high that it might nip when you aren't around as well.  The fish doesn't have to break the skin to disturb the other fish enough to not eat.> Any thoughts on what could've caused the puffer to stop eating and become less responsive?  <Sounds as though he's being bullied.  I had a small dogface puffer that did the same thing, it turned out that one of the clown fish that shared a tank with it was constantly pestering it.  Once I removed the aggressor, all was fine.  I suggest you start setting up a quarantine tank and let it get ready just in case you need to move this puffer out.  perhaps once he is out he will start eating.. or you can move the aggressor there and see if the puffer improves.> He is relieving himself on a regular basis so I was thinking he might be eating something else.  <puffers pick at stuff on the live rock.  Mine love to eat almost everything possible.> He also does seem a bit more bloated but he does not have any spots or change in color that would indicate parasites, disease, or injury. Thanks! <My guess is he is being picked on by something. that is what it sounds like to me.   Separate them if you can and see if it improves.   Also another trick is to buy some live snails from your local reef shop and feed them some live foods.  I've "cured" many a depressed puffer by feeding them that. it's like giving chocolate to a 6 year old.  Good luck. -Magnus> Valentini Puffer Long in the Tooth 1/9/05 Hi! <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I've got a quick question about my Valentini Puffer.  I've had him for nearly one year in my 44 gal FOWLR.  His tank mates include a blue devil damsel, a Longnose Hawkfish, a false percula and then two inverts: a coral-banded shrimp and a cleaner shrimp.  Recently I've noticed that my puffer has had trouble eating.  I associate this problem to his fused beak forming an 'over-bite' of sorts making it difficult for him to open his mouth wide enough to swallow most food pellets.  The puffer is approx. two inches in length and I feed him once a day alternating between 'Formula Two Marine Pellets' and frozen cubes of 'Hikari Mega-Marine Cubes' (too many ingredients in cubes to list).  I do not believe this to be a matter of 'lock-jaw' as I've read about on your site, just big teeth.  What do you suggest that can be fed to him to file down the beak, keep in mind his mouth can't open very wide.  I've read about people feeding clams and prawn (what's this by the way) to their puffers, if this would be an appropriate food to reduce his beak, would I just feed him the tender meat inside of the shell?  Thanks in advance for all your help!  Peace and Puffer Grease <Once your puffer's teeth are overgrown, no amount of crunchy foods will help.  Here's an article on proper feeding of puffers & trimming their teeth: http://puffer.proboards2.com/index.cgi?board=hospital&action=display&num=1085932782  I hope this helps!  ~PP> -David Sharpnose Puffer Losing Eyesight ? Hi. <Hello> I have a Papuan Toby that seems to be unable to see food, even if it falls in front it. The eyes are not cloudy, however, they seem to have lost of that odd sheen that I've notice on these fish, and they look almost dilated. <Good observations> I've had this fish for over two years - could it just be age ? <Possibly... usually these blindness events are tied to nutrition, parasites...> It seems to take it longer and longer to change from its sleeping color ( almost white ) back to its daytime color ( dark with spots ). <Another good fact... relating sight> I recently switched back to half actinic lighting, but I've had it before, and it did not cause eating problems with any of the fish, including this puffer. Thanks, Edward. <I do hope your fish's sight loss is reversed. Do you supplement its food with a vitamin et al. soaking? You might try Selcon, Zoe... Bob Fenner>

Re: Sharpnose Puffer Losing Eyesight ? Bob, <Edward> Just thought I'd give you an update.   Yesterday and today, I left the lights on for a half hour before feeding.  It seems that it is just taking longer than it used to for the Toby's eyes to adjust.  I'm not sure if this is because of the switch to a half actinic Britelite bulb, but that is probably the culprit. <Mmm, I hope you're right> He is eating better. The fish have always had a rotated diet of good frozen foods ( formula1, 2, and krill ), so I was a little more suspicious of the newer lighting vs. poor nutrition. This Toby has always been a bit of trouble.  His beak was oddly overgrown when I bought him, and I eventually took him out of the water, and gently clipped the beak down so that he could open his mouth up enough to nibble at rock and hard things and maintain a functional mouth. <Good move> BTW - I had always wondered if two Tobies could live happy lives in the same tank. <Mmm, usually not... unless the system is quite large, lots of hiding spaces... and best introduced at the same time... you can try, but I'd make them the same species, get one decidedly much larger or smaller> A few months ago a put a small Valentini in the tank, and after about 10 minutes of posturing (Valentini only ), everything was fine and both fish ignore one another and are often hanging out in the same corner of the aquarium. Thanks, Edward. <Glad to read of your success... As stated, Canthigasterines usually fight/bite each other. One aspect of habitat partitioning behavior. Bob Fenner>

Help with puffer Hello, Two days ago I purchased a 2" Valentini puffer from my LFS. They had him for a week and when I put him in my aquarium he was doing great. He was eating right away and looked very happy. The next day (about 4 hours ago) I came home from work and didn't see him anywhere. Finally I noticed his body bent in half and being sucked into the powerhead (AquaClear 50). <Not good... Canthigasters are smart, strong enough to avoid such intakes> I also have no idea how long he was stuck there. When I unplugged it he was very disoriented and his body was very crooked. He doesn't look so well and I'm afraid he might die. He is still slowly coasting around the aquarium but he is acting weird and won't eat. His body is still misshapen and bent. What do you think his chances are? Will his body turn back to normal? Should I be doing anything for his recovery? <Keeping an eye on the fish, putting it in a smaller system where you can do so...> Next, my tank is a 75 gallon, and has been running for about 2 months now with about 80 lbs of mixed types of live rock, and about 3 1/2 - 4 inches if special grade reef sand. Everything has been testing great for almost a month. I have a Remora Pro skimmer with upgraded Mag drive 3 and pre-flow box, a Fluval 404 canister filter, 265 watt pc lights, and 2 powerheads (an Aquaclear 50, and 70.) As for livestock right now, I have the Valentini puffer as mentioned above, 2 percula clowns 4 peppermint shrimp about 15 various snails, green star polyps, green candy cane coral, some mushrooms, and a couple feather dusters. As far as future plans, I want to add more fish, not positive on which ones yet, and only a few more corals. I guess this is pretty vague, but do you have any suggestions about anything. Also, my Fluval 404 is set up how the directions told me( from bottom-up... 1-carbon, 2-carbon, 3- prefilter rings, 4-prefilter rings.) For the type of tank I am going for, what would be the best setup I could do...(live rock rubble, more prefilter, more carbon , or maybe a different order). Thank you soooo much for your help, this is the most helpful sight out there. <Your system sounds fine... it appears you bought a "bunk" specimen... but I didn't see mention of quarantine... Hard to impossible to say what the root cause of your trouble is/was here... aquatic animals do not "show" signs of impending trouble (predators would detect this, eat them in the wild)... but you definitely would do well to develop and adhere to a quarantine protocol. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the MANY linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Valentini puffer injury from pump Hi, my puffer and I need help. I recent attached a new pump and Aqua C skimmer to my tank. Stupid me did not attach anything to the intake and this morn my Puffy was stuck in it. <Arggghh!> He sleeps by attaching his belly on something and apparently tried to take on nap on the pump. I'm not sure how long he was there was there but my husband and I turned it off and got him down. This was 12 hours ago and he is still alive. His belly is a mess. All distorted and crinkled. It does not appear to be an open wound and I see no blood i.e. internal bleeding that is apparent at least. A fin may have been injured or took away by the pump as well. He is not feeling good at all and not moving much at all. He is behind a net which he seems to like. This will protect him from the others. He is my first fish and very special. He even knows his name. water parameters are good. I do a 10% weekly and this was two days ago. He has made it through two bouts of ich last year and seems to be a fighter. His eyes are cloudy now and I've seen his eyes like this once before when he had ick last year. How can I help him. Please, I spent $ last year to save him from ick and I'll do what's necessary this time as well. I do not want him to suffer either. Please advise me how to help him. Thanks, Sharon <I appreciate your concern. About the only "things" to do are to provide a stable, optimized environment at this point... Try feeding this fish foods soaked in Selcon or equivalent and "keep the faith"... Puffers are very tough, resilient animals. I do hope yours rallies. Bob Fenner>

Blind Puffer?          Hi, once again I need to call on your help.  I've had a Valentini Puffer in my 44 gal pent. for more than a year now but over the last three days I have been watching him display some discouraging behavior.  First he stopped eating.  I tried to coax his appetite on with some garlic extract, but it didn't do anything.  Over these last two days I can describe him only as becoming disoriented.  He frequently bumps into the rock and glass and seems to find just one place to mull about.           Right now I'm considering several things; one is that he might be going blind, but I have no idea as to whether this would affect his feeding; <Will> two is that he ate something that did not agree with him and it is disrupting his appetite. <Maybe, but far more likely that this fish is suffering from a nutritional deficiency syndrome... next in likelihood that there is some sort of developmental/genetic disorder at play, next, water quality issue/s...>   As far as vision problems his eyes move about, however if he is near the glass and I move my hand towards it quickly he does not dart away.           I have three other fish in there with him; blue devil damsel, Longnose hawk, false percula, and two inverts. and none of them are displaying any similar characteristics.           I haven't added any chemicals to water except for my weekly tap-offs.  I'm going to do a water change tonight just for good measure.  Do you guys have any idea what could be affecting my puffer (and any possible solutions)?  Thank you very much for all your help. Sincerely,       David H. <Does this fish receive a mixed diet? Do you add vitamins et al. to the food/s, water? Bob Fenner>
Re: Blind Puffer?
In regards to your questions, I feed him frozen cubes of 'Mega Marine (multi-Vitamin) on average of 3 times a week.  On all other feedings I feed the fish 'Formula Two Marine Pellets'.  I very rarely feed the fish more than once a day.  His coloration seems to be fine, as typically I thought that would be the most obvious sign of malnutrition <This is a very sufficient diet... not at likely a deficiency syndrome as cause> Currently, my water is as follows Specific Grav. 1.023 pH of 8.3 76 degrees F Ammonia is at 0 I can't do a nitrite or nitrate test because my refills are in the mail still I add Kent Marine Coral-Acell and Calcium to the water twice a week. Any ideas, or is my puffer in a bad situation? Thanks again. <Have you read through the "puffer disease" and "Sharpnose puffers" and "Tetraodont puffer articles, Related FAQs files on WWM? I would. Bob Fenner>

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